That's Not Tinsel

There's a decent chance you have a snake in your Christmas tree

December 20, 2017

There are things that are fine, and there are things that are Not Fine, and there are things that are Super-Mega Not Fine, and there are things that are So Not Fine That They Make You Want to Slap Your Own Face and Run Home to Your Papa, and this latter category brings us to the headline "Family Finds Snake Slithering Through Christmas Tree Branches.”

As if the planet needed any more proof that it's wiser to drive to Lowe’s, buy a fake factory-produced Christmas tree, slap it in a stand and have it decorated in time for the Steelers game, this is merely more unnecessarily provocative evidence that the fancy Real Tree You Felled In the Forest with the Aid of a Bearded Woodsman Named Fjurg the Sweaty probably contains at least one snake. And in this case one snake is plenty. Well, in most cases one snake is probably plenty. I can’t think of a reason you’d need two snakes for anything, unless you needed someone to eat two mongooses, or wanted a backup Horcrux.

Christmas trees, of course, are the second least-favorable places in the world to find a snake, the first being — say it with me — the toilet. Discovering a snake in the toilet is my fourth-greatest fear, directly behind circuses, the Fox Business Channel and having my picture taken while SCUBA diving in the ocean but then having the photographer start gesturing wildly and flailing around because there's an open-mouthed whale gradually materializing behind me. That scene in "Finding Nemo" where the whale fades into view and consumes the neurotic fish and Ellen? That. (Most of my more acute fears in life end up in Pixar movies. I have one about an irritating snowman that talks for 21 solid minutes.)

If you wish to avoid such a thing, the first step appears to be staying out of Australia. You will remember last year, when a homeowner in Australia found a three-foot-long tiger snake hiding in her Christmas tree and the Internet pretty much wrote about nothing else for a week. To recap this story, which will almost certainly happen somewhere stateside this year (hopefully in or near Washington, D.C.):

  1. The Christmas tree sat in their home with a snake in it.

  2. The festive decorations hung with a snake in them.

  3. The snake didn't notice or care that it was being decorated around, meaning that it was either dumb or plotting something, and I’m voting for Option B. (In my head it was basically the basilisk from the second "Harry Potter" movie except 40 times as big, had human flesh dripping from its fangs, cursed in German and was preparing to eat all of their pets.)

Which brings us to the especially important part of this piece: What do you do if you find a snake in your Christmas tree? The answer, luckily, is simple. First, you squeal like Tucker Carlson, then you flee the house, call Animal Control, wait for Animal Control to outsource the job to some squinty-eyed 67-year-old former military chain-smoking animal-relocation specialists who doesn't have an office and only accepts payment in tobacco and rifles, have them remove the snake, then take the tree out back, burn it to the ground and move to another state, right? RIGHT. Good answer.

Finally, if you're at home wondering, "But Jeff, how can I be sure there are no snakes in my Christmas tree right now?" the short answer is, you can't. There's almost certainly a snake in your tree, right now, slithering around laying eggs in your nutcrackers while you sleep. And if there are no snakes, there are definitely some venomous spiders, or maybe a smallish bear. To combat this, next year, vigorously shake your tree before bringing it inside, to ostensibly free anything that has taken up residence. I'd go do that right now but I'm afraid a whale would fall out.

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