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.