As you know my beautiful wife Julia and I live on The Most Beautiful Lake in the Whole Wide World. Well maybe. Certainly it is very beautiful.
Anyway, to facilitate exploring The Lake we have two kayaks and two paddle boats. A few days ago our neighbors Mike & Christine came over and asked if their daughter and her boyfriend could use the kayaks.
Of course we said yes, and the young couple climbed into the kayaks, without falling into the water, a not inconsiderable accomplishment. I myself usually fall in once out of every 2 or 3 times that I use a kayak! Once you are seated in the boat, no problem, getting in, without falling into the water, problem.
They set off. After 20 minutes or so they returned, and exited the kayaks, again without falling in. (We were standing by with cameras at the ready.)
Next they launched our "Racing Paddle Boat", after first remembering to put the twin drain plugs in place, were this couple not going to screw up at all?
Now, did I forget to mention that Holly's boyfriend is afraid of snakes? Apparently that may be an understatement, it seems he is absolutely, unnaturally, terrified of them. As an aside here, Holly is afraid, but not terrified, of spiders.
They climbed into the boat, which is quite stable, (and doubtless full of spiders.) it wobbles, but remains firmly upright, and they set off. When they were no more than 15 or 20 feet from the pier I spotted a small snake swimming through the water in the typical snake way - a sort of wriggling sinuous swimming motion. Now I like snakes, unless they are actually biting me that is. This one was cute, maybe 18 inches long and not at all agressive looking, Certainly not what I would call a serpent. We see so little of wildlife in our day to day living nowadays that whenever I do see something, anything, in any way connected with nature, I feel compelled to draw everyone's attention.
I did so. Completely forgetting about Brians fear of vipers. To be fair to myself I had only just learned of this phobia mere minutes before, how could I be expected to keep such useless information in my already overloaded, and old, brain, about the foibles of strangers? I did what I usually do in such circumstances, I shouted out "Look a snake", at the same time pointing at the little creature. Maybe I should have said quietly "Hey look a cute, harmless, non-poisonous little snake who is just swimming along doing no one any harm." but I didn't, I shouted "Look a snake." From Brian's reaction you would have thought I had just screamed out "Watch out, a huge venemous Anaconda about 20 feet long, or maybe it's a Mamba, but whatever it is, it's chasing your boat, overtaking you at a rapid pace, and will shortly catch and eat you both. Oh and did I mention that this Python will crush you first before it drags you down to it's underwater lair where it will devour you?"
Well as I said, from his reaction that is at least what he heard! His hand went to his chest. Heart attack? No problem I was trained in CPR. He started to stand up, the boat rocked. Surely he wan't planning on exiting the boat. That would mean entering the water, the water that contained his arch enemy, the villain, Snakeman. But he didn't, instead he thought better of it and sat down.
Everyone tried to calm him, with soothing pleas, explaining that IT was swimming in the opposite direction to them. That IT was small and harmless and couldn't hurt him. All designed to calm him down. Of course in his mind we were safe on dry land, while he was floating on a sea of venemous snakes, whose sole reason for being, was to get Brian.
Well I MIGHT have said something about it possibly being a Cottonmouth, one of America;s most poisonous snakes, but I didn't mean it. No I didn't.
Anyway, he evntually got himself under control with the help of Holly. It did occur to me after seeing the ministrations of Holly, that Brian might be putting the whole thing on! But I don't think so.
They paddled off. With Brian's head anxiously swivelling from side to side. One never knew when a Sea Monster would rise from the depths of The Lake. (Deepest point thought to be six feet, but mostly 3 to 4 feet.)
They returned safely in another 20 minutes or so. Brian departing the environs of The lake with obvious relief.
I later heard from Mike that Brian's story to his friends included a monstrous snake at least four feet long.
What are people thinking of when they exagerate things? I, of course, would never even dream of doing anything like that.