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The Porcupine's Quill:  A Satire Column
by Arshad M. Khan
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the satire column
Porcupine's Quill
August 17, 2014


Once upon a time ...

Well, humans after being turned out of the Garden of Eden lay the blame on snakes
-- not on their own selves for being greedy and ungrateful, not on the particular
snake that tempted them, but on all snakes.

But there was one human who wanted to be liked by everyone, not just by his family,
his friends, though he never really had many -- there were people he befriended to
help him along in the furtherance of his destiny as he saw it.  He wanted to be liked
not just by his ethnic and racial base, his party, people who voted for him; no he
wanted to be loved by everyone:  his opposition, his enemies, even those shunned
by humans.

So naturally he turned to a species most humans justly fear, for a pet.  He got himself
a snake.  He fed it live mammals children would love for a pet, nurtured it, always in
the hope of getting it to like him.  He was convinced, charmer as he was, he could
charm anything, including a snake, and he knew as certainly as the sun rose out of
the east every morning that the snake would eventually like him.  And it did.  It
slithered up and down his body after his meal when he played with him.

It was just such an occasion ... perhaps he had not been fed enough, perhaps he
was a snake after all, but as he slithered up and then down reaching the soft round
quarter at the rear, the snake opened his jaws wide and bit him.

It bit me, grr... it bit me right in the grr-ass, he screamed.  After all I did for it.

Now he was a careful man.  After all you cannot reach where he had, without being
careful.  So he had been careful --  the snake he had chosen was not poisonous but
it still hurt, not just physically, but his pride, and sense of right and wrong.

Yes, that was the odd part; for he had exhibited little of that sense as he walked away
from old friends, denied them, with glib distinctions of conduct, disappointed the poor
resting their hopes of a fair shake upon him, while he parleyed with the rich,
pandered to their needs, and sought to join their society.

Powerful as he was, there were some who maintained their dignity.  Down the far side
of the globe was a man, now old, admired for steadfastness of purpose,
perseverance against all odds and, above all, grace in victory.  This was now, but
there was a time when he and his band fighting for independence were mocked as
terrorists.  It was then that only one country and its leader helped them in their
freedom struggle.  This man was killed and this country destroyed by the charmer
despite the entreaties of the old freedom fighter and graceful victor.  In retirement
and ill, he remained courageous and loyal refusing even to see our powerful charmer
of snakes on a state visit full of pomp and publicity.

The snake was caught and like many others executed without a trial.  Before he died,
he did make a final observation.  I am what I am, he said.  Nature made me that way.  
But think carefully, he said, who is the snake in the grass?

Small wonder, the ancient Egyptians worshiped snakes ...