send mongeese immediately

I am not, in general, afraid of snakes. An old roommate of mine had a ball python that an ex of hers had left her and I used to have to feed it because the whole mouse thing freaked her out. Snakes are cool.

I do, however, have some particular primal fear of cobras from watching Rikki Tikki Tavi too many times as a little kid. Of course, being afraid of cobras is perfectly reasonable except for the part that there aren’t any in North America (other than zoos) so who really cares, even if I did have a lot of nightmares about them as a child.

So in short: snakes good; cobras bad. Not really something I think about that much.

Until I call Patty in Gujarat and she’s like “So hey, I was sitting by the trench talking to Judy and the older woman who works in my trench started screaming and I was like ‘what what?’ and then I turned around and there was a snake slithering behind me and she threw dirt on it and then it went over by some trees. But it’s the trees where people take their tea breaks so everyone was really freaked. But they found it and killed it later and hung it in the tree.”

So, I, of course, inquired as to the type of snake. Something poisonous, presumably.

Patty said it was either a cobra or not a cobra, but because she doesn’t speak the local language and her Hindi is pretty basic still and it’s hard to translate between snake types she wasn’t really sure. But she was, however, pretty sure cobra-status was discussed, she just wasn’t sure if it was or it wasn’t. So I asked her, based on my Rikki Tikki Tavi expertise, about various markings on it.

“Well, first it was behind me, and then it was dead, so I didn’t look that closely.”

By the time I next speak to Patty this will probably have ceased to be interesting to her. I, however, will be talking about it FOREVER.


Also, is it mongooses or mongeese?

15 thoughts on “send mongeese immediately”

  1. The OED says mongeese is deprecated and mongooses is the right word. But FEH ON THEM mongeese is a much better word 🙂

    1. If you’re in Hawai’i, the plural of mongoose is still mongoose. But I was sure standard English must disagree. 😉

        1. That’s so weird. I was going to write in to say that in Hawaii the plural is “mongoose” as well. You wouldn’t believe how many discussions I had in highschool about the the plural form of mongoose as there were many that lived on campus.

          I sill remember a bend in the highway where my father ran over a mongoose with that car. We had a moment of silence on that bend ever since which is weird because they are evil creatures that wiped out most of the local ground-nesting birds.

  2. I also learned everything about cobras from Rikki Tikki Tavi. Wow….now I really want to watch that for the first time in what is probably something like 20 years. Oh my god. It’s really been that long.

      1. I’m not sure I ever watched the whole tv thing.

        I did, however, read the original when I was a kid. We had a two volume set of Kipling that my dad would read to us from (the Just-So stories), and later I’d pull one down and read at random from.

  3. I’m sort of leery of any wild snake, because even if it isn’t poisonous getting bit can hurt. Also, half of everything around here is poisonous. Also, rattlesnakes can get huge. Cobra, eeek.

  4. Crap, I’m glad she’s OK! (And now, I want to watch Rikki Tikki Tavi again- Orson Welles as Nag creeped me the fuck out as a kid. Come to think of it, The Black Stallion had a vicious mother of a cobra, too.)

  5. I feel like I learned about cobras from my childhood obsession with Ancient Egypt and my dad thinking it was awesome to showing National Geographic specials about mummies to a four year old. (It’s okay, it was.) I only encountered Rikki Tikki Tavi in elementary school. To me, cobras are still Those Asps That Go On Your Head.

  6. I only know from the Jungle Book (book, never watched it), and having gone by the name of Rikki Tikki Tavi for something like 15 years now. \o/ Personally, I use ‘mongeese’ although I am quite certain it’s incorrect. I just like the sound of it.

  7. I have seen a cobra. A notable wacko in my small hometown collected poisonous snakes and my school would invite him to speak every year on snake safety to the elementary school kids.

    So this guy would bring about a dozen poisonous snakes, including a goddamn king cobra, to a school. Full of kids. And lecture us on snake safety.

    After we moved the hell out of there, I heard his son got bitten by one of his snakes. No word if it was the cobra.

    1. Holy crap. I have only see a cobra in the zoo, behind glass, and have scolded children for beating on the glass because what if it got out? I really have a horror of these creatures.

      Snake safety: don’t collect poisonous snakes.

      1. Yeah, and there was no attempt made at a barrier between this guy’s snakes and the bleachers or floor where we were! However, exactly none of them ever made a break for it and headed our way. I guess we were just lucky.

        Did I mention this nutball would poke at the snakes? This guy must have wanted to be a circus lion tamer as a kid. The last time I saw his act at my school, he poked the king cobra one too many times and the snake grabbed the little switch (or whatever it was) from him, slung it around a couple of times and threw it on the ground.

        We thought that was hilarious. None of us got scared and ran, we cheered. Crazy man, crazy children, crazy school.

  8. Enjoyed that story of the maybe-cobra. And I’m glad to hear that the plural is mongoose just like moose. (I’ve always wondered.)

    And now I want to go watch Rikki Tikki Tavi again. That was one of my fave movies as a kid. And that cobra never creep-ed me out; the mongoose was way more BAMF than that cobra.

    I didn’t know it was from a story by Kipling. I have to go read it.

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