Not a Snake in the Grass


© irene waters 2017


© irene waters 2017

What do you do when faced with a dilemma? Sometimes it is not as clear cut as you initially think. My first thought when seeing this snake in the roof was to let the owners know that they had an unwanted guest living in their roof space. Then I thought — what if they panic and try to kill it. It is a harmless snake, not hurting anyone, probably keeping them free of mice and yet their fear might overcome that and cause them to harm it.

This so often happens in life – you know the right thing to do and then your self speak comes in and worries about the consequences that might be caused by you speaking out. You deliberate — should I /  shouldn’t I and by the time you have decided then perhaps it is too late to take action and you let it go. The  snake has slithered out of sight and you can then happily ignore that you even saw it.

A book that looks at the question of whether to tell or not tell is Herman Koch’s book The Dinner. This book looks at the moral dilemma of two brothers, who over dinner, discuss the unspeakable act of their children. You are drawn to side with one of the two ideologies that arise. I found this fascinating as it was a book read for our book club and the members took different view points. Those with children all went the path that I felt was morally wrong. All without children followed the other. I would like to think that if I did have children I would still have chosen the path I did but that is a question that I cannot answer. It is like believing that, should I be a politician, I would not be able to be corrupted but how can I be so sure? One can believe what they would do but that is easy to say when you are in a position that no-one has any desire to corrupt you. All I can hope for is that I would hope I wouldn’t be corruptible.

When the dilemma posed is that of a snake in the ceiling the outcome effects few and the consequences dire for possibly only the snake and perhaps, if they do attempt to kill it, the would be killer. More people get bitten trying to kill snakes than at any other time. If however, the dilemma is one of national consequence, such as North Korea, the outcome, if either leader becomes fearful, is going to have dire consequences for thousands of  innocent people.

What did I do about the snake. I decided to tell the occupiers that they had a snake in the ceiling but please not to harm it. I also gave them the phone number of a snake catcher that would relocate the serpent to a more congenial location. They were grateful. They had suspected due to a bad smell emanating from the vicinity of the ceiling. They would not hurt it.

I hope our world can be saved as easily as this snake.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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13 Responses to Not a Snake in the Grass

  1. Interesting. I join you in your hope about saving our world like you did the snake. Thanks for sharing this useful post,.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lifelessons says:

    I was tempted to tell you to do nothing, but you did exactly the right thing. I’m glad you knew it was a harmless snake and cold tell them this. My neighbors had a snake living in their recessed skylight on top of their house. For weeks they thought it was just a collection of dry leaves, but when the gardener went to clear them out, it turned out to be a rattlesnake! I actually am fascinated and not repelled by snakes, except when poisonous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poor gardener. That must have come as a shock. We don’t have rattlesnakes here but I have seen them on cowboy movies as a kid. Like you I am fascinated by snakes and there would only be a few snakes I would be fearful of. As long as you stand still they don’t know whether you are a tree or something else and they won’t strike. I’m glad they didn’t hurt it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A dilemma is always an interesting test of character, aren’t they? So glad it turned out well, especially for the snake

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am terrified of snakes, absolutely terrified. I would want to be told if one was living anywhere near me. What if that thing found its way into the house or in the yard where the kids play?

    The dilemma of a snake on the roof or a political snake on the world stage pose hugely different problems. One is a small personal issue, the other has world wide consequences. Especially awful when we know that the people of North Korea believe the lies they’ve been told and have no access to the truth. The world teeters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You aren’t alone in your fear of snakes Sharon. I’m not frightened but I know many who are. I worry for the dogs because they may or may not see them as dangerous and may want to play with them.
      You are right of course that the consequences of both scenarios are very different but the dealing with it might not be. I agree the North Koreans believe what they are told. I think Kim Jong-un is like a small dog barking first to let the big dog know he is dangerous when in reality the amount of harm he can inflict is limited compared to the big dog. I fear his bluff is going to be called and yes we are teetering.


  5. noelleg44 says:

    I am not afraid of snakes – my son had a ton of them as pets – so for me, you made exactly the right choice. I could have removed it myself! We are thinking a lot about North Korea here in the US, probably amped up for me because of my daughter. She and her husband just got back from Japan, and I worried mightily the whole time they were gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t have gone so far as to remove it myself (although we have relocated a python from a house where we used to live) but it turned out well. I fear what may happen with North Korea and the safety of those near-by. I can imagine your added concern. Glad you daughter and her husband are home safely.


  6. mukhamani says:

    Yes, it would be wonderful if the problems of our world could solved so easily.

    Liked by 1 person

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