June 21, 2003
more cognitive dissonance
The company brought in a guy from Australia to fill a vacancy in upper supervision. His name is Sean, and he is of Indian descent. He speaks with a Paul Hogan accent.
So, I now work with a guy who resembles the Son of Ghandi, has an Irish name and talks like Crocodile Dundee. No wonder I stay fucked-up. He blows every profiling circuit in my brain.
From what I've read and seen on TV about Australia, that country has every kind of kill-ya-dead critter on the face of the planet. They've got snakes that give you two steps after a bite before you die. They've got Great White Sharks. They've got posionous sea-eels, poisonous spiders, posionous insects, posionous duck-billed attack-killers and evil shit EVERYWHERE!
I want to go there, but I am afraid of that place. But, I digress.
Sean saw his first Georgia rattlesnake the other day. (Yeah, those fuckers are out and about now) He saw this "strange reptile" crawl out of the swamp and go under a "runabout." (That would be a four-wheeler to an American.) He went over to make sure no one hopped on the
runabout four wheeler, took off and injured the snake. He got a piece of pipe, dragged the snake out and "trapped it."
Any red-blooded Cracker would have used the pipe to stove in the snake's head at that point, but Sean is an Indian with an Irish name who comes from Oz. He didn't know what he had, but he didn't want it to get away. He kept it trapped until somebody native came by and told him, "That's a fucking rattlesnake!" and killed it.
Afterward, he suggested a safety meeting. "Mates, I don't know your snakes here. But the fact that one like that, which I am assured is posionous, can crawl into the plant is a point of concern to me. Was that a large one? Do they all look like that? Do we need to warn the operators of the dangers? Is it common to find a snake in the plant?"
Boy, did he get an earfull. That rattlesnake was a baby. The BIG BOYS come slithering in this time of year, especially at night. The plant is lit up like a World's Fair after dark. The bugs are attracted to the lights. The frogs are attracted to the bugs. The snakes are attracted to the frogs. People find the snakes and kill them. It's Mother Nature at work.
YES, we kill a lot of snakes in the plant. We're in the middle of the fucking marsh and woods next to the Savannah River with LOTS of excellent snake habitat all around. NO, we've never had anyone bitten, but it's a wonder, considering the snake-rich environment and the number of them who crawl into pallets and boxes that are stored outdoors.
When I was running the Acid Plant, which was WAY back from the rest of the plant, I came to work one Monday morning and noticed a lot of people in the control room that usually weren't there. I said, "'Morning," went to my office, opened the door, turned on the light, picked up my status sheet from the desk and walked back to the control room.
"Goddam! Somebody told you about it!" I heard.
"Told me about what?" I asked.
"The goddam snake in your office!"
I went back to look and my heart almost stopped in my chest. Those fuckers had killed a six-foot rattlesnake the night before and coiled that sonofabitch up RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY DESK, hoping to scare the shit out of me when I came to work. That snake was as thick as my calf with almost a dozen rattles. He was a full-grown nasty bastard. I don't know how I didn't step on it when I was gathering my paperwork.
If I had stepped on that snake, looked down and seen what was there, I just might have shit my pants. That's what everybody was hoping for.
I said, "Get that dead meat out of my office. And if you fuckers ever do anything like that again, I'll fire every goddam one of you."
I don't like snakes.
And Sean needs to spend some time on the internet learning about rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and corals. We've got 'em all.
Yup, and Black Widows too.
Dude, y'all have all those damn snakes? Shit.. my husband and I are moving there in like October/early November. Shit shit shit. And we're gonna be right there at the fucking Savannah River as we're moving to Augusta.
Crapola. This shithole is gonna suck worse than I thought.
If you ever make it to Oz, drop me a line. I have beer, shotguns and access to cheap women.
The first year I taught school, I entertained the class clown in my math class. The boy had gone so far as to welcome all the new teachers on the intercom on the first day of school with the information that he would be around to "break us in".
As devilish as he was, you couldn't help but like him. When he would see you in town, he never failed to speak, and if he missed me at school that day, he would come by my house to say hello. All this while he was stapling my grade book to my desk, filling the trees in my yard with toilet paper (which he would always come by and clean up), and leaving religious exhortations to KISS on my chalkboard.
I walked into class one day and immediately knew that today was to be my final test - every last one of the kids were in class, in their desks with books open when the bell rang. Except Jeff - he entered the room right after the bell with a pillow case over his shoulder. I heard a movement in my desk and started to open it.
Some girl asked if I could help her with a problem they had for homework and the rest of the class wanted to chime in with - "yeah, work it on the board". No chalk - it's in the desk drawer with whatever is in there moving around.
Okay, so I open the drawer and grab the biggest gray rat snake I have ever seen (being a south Georgia girl, I know this one won't kill me). I throw it out in the classroom while saying something about my chalk not being there. When I look up - I see Jeff's feet going out the window - and then him sitting on the ground with his jeans ripped clean up one side.
I don't know who laughed more - the class at me, or me at Jeff.
(I know, I got long-winded - but it's my one and only snake story)
Don't forget the Texas sized raccoons. One night about 3:00 in the morning I was out in my unit (refrigeration) checking out my compressors and taking some readings. This is the night I gave up my official position of being responsible for the compressors. There was the biggest damned raccoon I had ever seen in the plant on my compressor deck. He must have weighed in at over 35 to 40 pounds. He started towards me, with the hair on his back standing straight up, and as he got closer the hair on the back of my neck and on my arms stood up. I guess we were synchronized. I wasn't going to stand around arguing with him, as I didn't have an equalizer handy. I made my exit down a side cage that is rarely used.
When I arrived back at the control room I told some of the other operators about him. They all stampeded out the door, like what the hell did they think they were going to do to him?
They caught a glimpse of him as he crawled up into the overhead pipe rack. For the longest afterwards I was more concerned with not running into that rascal than looking my unit. Especially at night.
I must be nuts.
Eric came in the other day and told me there are raccoons in the milking parlor. He made a POINT to tell me this because he knew I'd be excited to see them. I am. I went out there two nights ago and got to see four babies and one or two adults. Their access in and out of the parlor is a hole in the ceiling where milk pipes and vacuum lines and other stuff goes through. They all hung out at the edge of the hole, sometimes sticking their heads out upside to look at me. The babies seemed more curious than anything else. Not even the adults were bothered by me. No growling, hissing-nothing. I went back out there early this morning, but I had missed them. Saw signs that they had been there, though.
I know me. I'll keep visiting them. I've even got a coupla rolls for them. They are as adorable as I always thought they'd be and until one of them starts acting stupid, I'll be out there. I don't get in their faces, or anything. I just sit on the step and talk to 'em. And giggle at 'em. I don't try to touch.
One question, though. I've seen, on TV, a raccoon walking like he was drunk. I thought he'd been eating fermented fruit. Eric said he was either rabid or sick. Which was it? If I'm gonna be around them , I guess I'd better know what to look out for...besides teeth and claws.
A raccoon can eat a hole in you pretty quick Stevie. They aren't pets ever. The one that I encountered out in the plant was one big and mean mother. Even the big wharf rats don't countenance them much, and they are pretty damned big themselves.
Don't encourage the young ones to not be afraid of you, because if a kid gets a hold of one that's been handled by an adult, it can pretty much eat the kid up quick.
Lots of racoons carry rabies, too.
Couple of animal facts to entice y'all to visit Oz;
Kangaroos regularly kill dogs by holding them underwater till they drown.
Cuddly koala 'bears' can rip 4 inch branches off trees to get their leaves, and will piss on you if you disturb them while they are sleeping.
Sean wasn't scared of the rattler because they're lovable compared to the Queensland Death Adder or the Taipan snakes.
Hey, you should go look at the book "Australia's Dangerous Creatures" It's the best book ever! Its the size of the complete oxford micro dictionary. That's big.
Gosh, are those the only snakes you have? Heck, those are just a small fraction of the creatures that slither down here in Florida. And I'm not going to even mention the rest of the Animal Kingdom that rules this place.
Fucking worms. Ugh. I'm not going to get into any "mine are worse than yours games", but let me just say:
Black mambas. Spitting cobras. Gaboon vipers. Tree snakes. Bird snakes (no antivenom works with these fuckers). Puff adders. Green mambas. There may be others but I've forgotten them, thank Og.
Scorpions, crocs, trees with deady noxious vapors given off at night.
Then, in the country, add lions, leopards, hyenas and the usual merry crowd of carnivorous mammals.
No wonder I left. Texas is like a rest home after that lot.
I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.