Monday, April 7, 2008

The Aaron Catastrophe

Catastrophe - a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth.

There was a violent and sudden change in my world last Saturday night. For weeks, no make that months, I had worked on a plan to make my life simpler. That all changed in the blink of an eye. From now on, the event will be referred to simply as the "Aaron Catastrophe".

The evening had been planned for weeks, and was even given a name, "The Probing Party". The name was tossed around and refined and became "Dinner and a Probing". It should have been quite simple really. Friends from the zoo, specifically the herpetarium, would arrive around 6:30 in the evening. We would socialize, look at snakes, have an informal meal then probe snakes. What had been an annual event, with mainly just Brian and myself, was expanded to include everyone from the "herp", as it's affectionately called. After dinner, the real business of probing (sexing) 76 baby snakes would get down to business. It never happened that way.

Two invitees to the event were late and, as it was discovered later, even had supper at a local restaurant. They weren't just a little late, they were 2 hours late! While we patiently waited, alcohol was introduced. As soon as the rum and coke started flowing, I knew the probing would never take place. You don't mix alcohol and venomous snakes, it's just not a good idea. But what happened next would take me a full 9 days to correct. Yes, I'm talking about the "Aaron Catastrophe".

Anyone who has been around me for any length of time knows about my attention to detail. That attention really comes into play regarding the husbandry and care of my snakes. Over the years, a method has evolved that lets me give the greatest possible care in the limited amount of time I have during my work week. That same standard of care had come into play with last year's sizable amount of babies that needed to be fed on a regular schedule. So, to not totally overwhelm myself, I devised a plan where equal rows of babies would be fed on a certain day and, by keeping notes on an everyday wall calendar, I would have detailed records on when they fed, shed their skins, etc. Simple and efficient, correct? I thought so until the "Aaron Catastrophe". As soon as I heard "Aaron, Jim is going to be upset!", I knew there was a problem. I had NO idea how big the problem actually was...

The "Aaron Catastrophe". My neat, equal rows of babies (The Viper Bouquet) were now in shambles because Aaron was left unsupervised.

Nine days later, peace is restored to my universe. All babies have been fed and placed back in the proper order.