I didn’t use to watch TV at all. Now I watch TV while I do the exercises my physical therapist suggested for my back. (One ruptured disk, one herniated disk, one big hassle.) For any of you out there that have too much dignity, I highly recommend back exercises. Several of them make me look like I’m attempting to fly. In others I appear to be trying out for a Michael Jackson pelvic thrust dance routine. Needless to say, I do my exercises after the kids go to bed.
TV during that time slot is often interesting. The other night I watched a documentary on PBS about venomous creatures. You might not realize this, but researchers are trying to cure all sorts of medical problems using venom. Seriously—from cancer to pain relief to blood clotting agents—they’re looking to venom to find solutions. I’m imagining myself walking into a clinic with a brain tumor and then being informed that the doctor wants to inject me with snake venom. I think about that time I’d start to question my HMO.
But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. What struck me was the researches they showed collecting venom. I mean, some days being an author is the pits. Like today when I checked Amazon and saw that my first review for Ex-boyfriend was only three stars. I read the review—and it was surprisingly good review. The person said: “The main characters are cute and our heroine actually has a couple of laugh out loud funny episodes (and some of her thoughts are hilarious)” but she only gave it three stars (I assume) because it didn’t “touch her or make her think.” I would suggest she think about how hard it is to write comedy and give me five stars, but no, never mind.
Anyway, back to snakes and poisonous toads and such. In one part of the show a researcher is recorded milking the fangs of poisonous spiders. “You have to get them angry so they stand up and show you their fangs,” he said waving a pipette at a furry black spider. “Luckily it’s pretty easy to provoke them. Even a whiff of human smell makes them angry.”
Yeah, I suppose so. Being jabbed with a pipette on a daily basis would do that for you.
Another woman grabbed a brown snake from the ground—with her bare hands—and then held it aloft for the camera while she cheerfully explained that it’s responsible for the most snake deaths in Australia.
I couldn’t help but think that the death toll was about to rise by one.
We got to watch a lot of snakes being milked for venom and it really surprised me how many researches did this without any sort of gloves. This either says something about their hubris or their job satisfaction.
So even on days when being an author isn’t great, there are still things to be thankful for. Like the fact that thus far my editor hasn’t asked me to milk a snake.