Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps, where bad headwork beats good intentions.
There is no Navy Enlisted Classification Code, Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialty, or civilian job series for "snake handler." This hasn't prevented Sailors, Marines and civil servants from trying out that exciting job, just as it hasn't prevented a series of snakes from teaching them painful, high-risk lessons.
The latest applicant for this non-existent job was a civilian police officer at a shipyard who had to deal with a black rat snake. These snakes aren't poisonous, which is a good thing for the potential snake wrangler. Farmers like them because they help control rodents. You could make a case to just let the snake hang around the building, doing his thing. However, most people are scared of snakes, so the police officer had little choice.
In his favor was the fact that rat snakes are shy and try to avoid contact. If they are confronted, they tend to freeze and remain motionless. Perhaps this behavior encouraged the officer to grab it. At that point, the snake moved to plan B, which was to bite the officer on the hand, leaving behind a few teeth for good measure. The officer was treated at a nearby medical center for minor bites.
"Be that way," the snake thought as it slithered off. "Get rid of your own rats."
One of my far-flung correspondents sent along a link to a newspaper article about three Japanese tourists on an Australian vacation. They got stuck in their rental car in Moreton Bay after trying to drive to an island nine miles away.
"The low tide and a GPS navigation system lured them into the bay," the article said. They made it about 500 yards before the gravelly surface gave way to mud. The incoming tide eventually forced them to abandon ship (at which point they were wishing it actually was a ship, not a Hyundai). Four hours later, the car was in six feet of water.
Responding to the article on the newspaper's website, someone commented, "Hope they aren't catching the bus to Tokyo."
An airman mustered at his barracks on an air station in California, saddled up his motorcycle and ventured out. Alas (and here is where my "saddle" metaphor proves short-lived), he needed to adjust the position of the seat.
Did he pull over? No, he was apparently in too much of a hurry and too acrobatic for that option. Instead, he stood up on the foot pegs (at 30 mph, mind you), took one hand off the handlebars, and tried to make the necessary adjustment.
He then found that instead of adjusting the seat, he merely adjusted his amount of steering control from "some" to "none." Add a bit of gravel to his attempt to regain control, an oncoming car, and presto, he veered right, jumped off, hit the ground head first, did a front flip and landed on the road.
The rider dislocated his shoulder and scraped up his hands and elbow. His noggin was undamaged, thanks to his helmet (which he had to replace, since it had functioned as advertised, absorbing the impact).
A civilian police officer was driving his government pickup off base one morning on what the report called a "jeep trail." He hit the brakes when he got to a highway. A soda can slid from under the seat and lodged under the brake pedal. Unable to stop, he plowed across the road and crashed into a tree.
Voila: A $10,000 reason not to treat your vehicle as a trash can.
That's all for this week, friends and neighbors. Until we meet again, remember that there are many more good reasons to pull over than there are reasons why you can't.