Monday, March 16, 2009

Snakes in a Lavatory

I recently made an attempt to watch "Snakes on a Plane" and failed. Not because I have a problem with snakes, or planes, it's just that once the characters got on the plane, the plot disappeared.

Sorry if I am about to ruin the movie for anybody, but I am going to go into detail. If you'd rather skip ahead, go down three paragraphs. First, the notion of getting snakes to attack people on a plane reminded me less of a fearsome mobster trick than of one of the old James Bond tropes, like in Dr. No, where he gives the guy a tarantula to put in James Bond's room, but of course Bond doesn't get killed by the tarantula. He wakes up and smashes it like any other spider.

The point is, animals are lazy. Why use animals anyway? It's a lame trick. But it plays off our primal fears. The creators of the show probably thought, hey, snakes are scary, planes are scary. Let's combine the two. But just because you like chicken and ice cream doesn't mean you should eat them together.

Anyway, back to the lavatory. There could have been another air vent, but no. It all starts with the couple having sex, in someone's most private, most vulnerable moment. If it hadn't been so ridiculously orchestrated, I would say there could have been a Garden of Eden theme going on there. Maybe there was. Here are two people in the throes of ecstasy, and suddenly - snake! And then there is another man who just went in to take a piss, and then - snake! In fact, snake on his snake! Oh, that was clever. As if the poison would not be effective anywhere else. But I think this just shows how we really feel about sex as a culture. Is anyone surprised? Not me.

I will admit, I had a moment when I was on a plane recently, going home for the weekend. Personally, I think spiders are scarier than snakes, but I'm irrational about that. I am just thankful that they have lavatories on planes, thank you very much.

However, if you really want to know, it seems there is a small problem of snakes in toilets. Since they are about the size and shape of plumbing, they have been known to escape - as exotic pets - or to enter from the wild and make their way into people's home plumbing systems. Why they would want to, I don't know. To find their own personal lake, perhaps.

This website reports that in 1999, there were 200 attacks of snakes in toilet bowls, 50 of which resulted in fatalities. That was up from 135 attacks and 35 fatalities in 1998. To get more information, check the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.

But what I love, is that the person quoted in the article is named Harvey Schitz.

If that's not a case of Nomen et Omen, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

My friend Steve lived in a huge drafty oft in Baltimore, and his neighbor's boa constrictor went missing one day. The neighbors searched and searched, but the snake never turned up. Eventually they moved away, and Steve lost touch with them.

Then one night, Steve was using the toilet after a night at the bar, and wrapped around the base of the commode was the missing snake.

He kept that snake until his partner got pregnant and started worrying about the interaction of gigantic snake and baby.

She now regrets making him give that snake away.