Serpents for sale

I haven’t been this disturbed in a while, so I’ll just come out with it: Can we please stop trapping snakes and other various reptiles, poisonous and non, and trying to make them our pets? I was perfectly happy to write about the Star Trek/sci-fi convention, but was so creeped out by the reptile show that I’m taking this space to beg you. If you own a snake or an exotic lizard, can you just set the scary little bastard free in the jungle where it belongs? You paid hundreds of dollars for the thing, now buy it a one-way ticket back to Mexico and let it slither around, lay creepy little eggs and bite the shit out of its enemies in a natural habitat. And no, Billy Bob, your trailer park isn’t considered a natural habitat.

Why would you want a snake, anyway? Have you ever seen one eat? It’s like having to watch Michael J. Fox turn into Teen Wolf, week after week, in your own living room. And without the hilarious plotline. (A wolf playing basketball? Get out!)

Point is, reptiles aren’t cute; what do you need a snake for? So you can be the dude in his mid-30s who hangs around the high-school parking lot showing off his boa constrictor to misunderstood Goth kids? Is that really the statement you want to make with your life?

Or, are you buying an exotic lizard for $700 to occupy your mulleted 8-year old while you and the missus snort meth lines off the lazy Susan? Don’t do it, man. Use that money to buy your kid a haircut, put him in reading class, go to rehab and take the family out to the Red Lobster. Just leave the reptiles out of it.

I don’t care what your argument is: The reptile show is disturbing. The snakes and lizards are crammed into what look like Gummi Bear containers, all trying to claw their way out, like starving Chinese contortionists with broken necks.

To the show’s credit, there was one reptile that seemed comfortable. He was a lizard the size of a large house cat, cradled in the arms of its master, sleeping like a baby as she pet its huge, scaly head, like a grotesque and horribly deformed infant. I almost called the police it was so twisted. Love, I learned, between man and reptile is the sickest, most blasphemous love of all.

Please, I know you’re going to write, telling me that I know nothing about reptiles, that I’m ignorant and have no compassion. And you’re right. But I know only what I saw: thousands of hungry, trapped and oppressed creatures trying to claw their way out of their cages. It was like a Turkish prison, or a Nike factory. If you want to see a reptile, please, watch the Discovery Channel.