May 5, 2007

Another Bullet Dodged

My last post got me thinking about another tall tale of dodging bullets.

Becoming a geologist requires a lot of quality time camping. If you are lucky and you live in an arid region, you get to do this in the desert. Oddly enough, an academic discipline that requires going into nature, ya-hooing around in four wheel drive vehicles, hiking to some of the most beautiful places the mind can imagine, and sitting around a fire, drinking and telling lies can prove to be seductive. I totally fell for it being the easily seduced kind of lass and all.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to go to Death Valley, you’ll know that it’s an amazing place. It’s admittedly challenging to stay for long in the searing heat of summer, but in the springtime, when the desert blooms… Amazing! There is really nothing like it.

On one of my many trips to the desert Mecca of Death Valley, I was camping with scads of people and a group of us built a fire and were drinking beer around said fire as is the tradition when sleeping under the stars in the desert. As the evening grew long, nature inevitably called. So into the desert I wandered to heed the call. I found a respectable shrub of chaparral and was in the process of squatting before said chaparral when from behind me, I heard the ominous rattling of a rattlesnake. This, for the record, did not scare the piss out of me. It scarred the piss right back from whence it came. So there I was duck walking away from my shrub grappling at my jeans to keep them from causing me to pitch onto my face and praying to anything that is holy that a) the rattlesnake wasn't a Mojave green, b) that it wasn't a baby, and c) that it didn't take that opportunity to pierce my butt.

All of which begs the question: Should my butt have been pierced by a rattlesnake, which of my friends would be drunk enough yet sober enough to suck the venom out of my rump? This can only be answered with another tall tale from the desert.

The previous autumn, I was in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, once again camping with scads of people and... you guessed it... drinking enthusiastically. My best friend, M, has a bad habit of getting drunk and forgetting that booze and pot don't mix. I've told her about this time and time again, but the girl won't listen and learns the lesson badly over and over again. This phenomenon has never really been a problem for me as I've been a pot-free-zone for most of my life. But it has given me the opportunity to point and laugh self-righteously. Anyhow, over the course of the evening, I lost track of dear M for a bit and when she showed up again, she was draped on Felix's shoulder. He promptly passed her off to me stating that he had to whiz (the slippery little bastard). As he walked away, I asked if he let her smoke pot and then damned him after he confirmed it. So poor M was in a state to be reckoned with and I said, "M, darlin', you have to execute the preemptive strike. It’s time to puke."

She slurred out, "I can't do that..."

"Of course you can!" said I.

"No, I can't." said she.

"You just shove your fingers down your throat until all lets fly."

"I can’t do that…" she insisted.

"M, come here. Hold back your hair, open your mouth and bend over."

To my surprise, she did. And my fingers went straight down her gullet and I tickled her tonsils until the heave ho was executed and she barfed her fool brains out. That's friendship. And you're darned skippy that she would suck the venom out of my ass!

For the record, the current first aid care standard for snake bites follows:
1) Call the Poison Control Center or EMS.
2) Do not attempt to suck the venom out of the victim.
3) Keep the affected limb below heart level.
4) Calm and reassure victim.

It’s not very proactive.


ellie said...

Since we have no snakes in Ireland a pee in the bushes can be a pleasant experience, unless you come across a snake of the two legged variety.
You have started e thinking about which of my friends I could rely upon to suck venom from my ass......not a single one, most of them spit their own venom after a few drinks

Eddie Waring said...

Where is the nearest poison control center to Death Valley? Barstow? Mojave? LA????? Something tells me you may well be screwed if you get bitten out there.

Fresh Hell said...

Ellie: I've seen this two legged snake in the bushes. The bite is painful but sweet.

How can your and my friends be so exactly the same after a few drinks yet be on separate sides of an ocean?!

Eddie: It depends on where you are in Death Valley. It's a big freaking valley. Emergencies are taken to Las Vegas, Mojave, or the Nye County Regional Medical Center depending on location and severity.

I've been both bitten and screwed out there... separately and together... and I'd do it again.

Troika said...

I know how annoying it is to get long comments, but I'm really bored and this little story about a snake came to mind when I read this. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

I used to share a house with a mate in the Hong Kong countryside. He was the hardest bloke I've ever known. He went out on a run once and when he got back he sat at the desk and got on with some work.

I was sitting on the sofa watching TV smoking a joint about 2 hours later and looked over to say something, and then noticed his leg.

"FUCKING HELL MAN! What the FUCK has happened to your leg!?"

His leg was the width of a watermelon, all the way down to his toes. I'm not kidding, it was huge.

"Oh, I stopped for a break on my run and got bitten on the ankle by a snake. I can't feel anything, I reckon it'll be alright."

"You fucking what?! Mate, your fucking leg is about to pop. What the fuck are you doing?!"

I didn't try and suck any venom out but I did call an ambulance for the stupid bastard who then spent three weeks in hospital. To this day he reckons there was no need for me to get the ambulance. The stupid twat.

Art said...

It's good about the snake and yer ass and all... but wait a minute, pot and booze don't mix??? [lightbulb] I suppose this explains my 20's :(

Fresh Hell said...

Troika: You are forgiven. But your judgement is called into question. How did you agree to live with such a tool?

Art: It's a hard learned lesson... usually it sticks after a few times... Alas, this cautionary story proves that consessions must be made for slow learners.

Jocelyn said...

You are far beyond a good friend.

I can't type anymore, as I keep taking my hands off the keyboard to try to imagine sticking two of my fingers down someone else's throat.

Fresh Hell said...

Jocelyn: It is truly amazing what feats one can muster when the prospect of having to be the driver for 300 miles across the desert with a catatonic hung over co-pilot occasionally barfing on the side of the road is the alternative. It was all a matter of foresight... I knew what shape she would be in come sunrise and I wanted no part of it... something had to be done... desperate measures were in order...