But it's soon St. Patrick's Day. On Saturday, people will pinch you
for not wearing green and pass out clover stickers to ward off the
I'm here to remind you of a perhaps lesser known St. Patrick's Day
connection. Legend has it that the sheep-herder-turned-saint rang a bell
and drove the snakes out of Ireland.
My editor, albeit gently, suggested I write about snakes and their
owners. I agreed -- on the condition that I'd do all of my interviews
over the phone -- and so I've thought and talked about snakes all week.
About two, in particular.
A couple of exotic types were reported missing Tuesday from a Fountain
Valley pet store called Prehistoric Pets. Did you hear about that? Did
you see the segment on the news? I turned away. I always do.
In elementary school, I slapped Post-It notes on photos of snakes in
my science book because, without doing that, I couldn't read the words on
In college, I avoided citywide outdoor carnivals held on campus --
somebody was bound to be walking around wearing snakes like scarves.
I have nightmares about them almost every month and wake up screaming
because in my dreams they are wrapped around me.
The other day, Joy McNamara of Newport Beach told me her ball python
-- named Sonya -- likes to slide around her shoulders and hang out near
her face when the two are watching television.
"I know this is a weird question, but what does a snake feel like?" I
"Oh, well, let me feel her. She's sitting on my bed right now."
This was all over the phone.
"Well, they feel really . . . muscular. You can feel the muscles when
they move. The skin is really smooth."
McNamara said she is fascinated by snakes. Sonya is beautifully
patterned in shades of brown and tan, she said.
Laura Noss, a reptile specialist at Petco in Costa Mesa, said she
thinks reptiles in general are God's special creatures.
"I really do," she emphasized. "[I think that] when he made them, that
he must've really thought of something wonderful and great. For snakes,
just the way they're designed, with no legs, they come in so many
patterns and colors and variations, and how beautiful their eyes are."