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The Snake Named Sid

May 29, 2020

Once upon a long time ago in 1982, my new wife and I bought a house in southern California. This was in the height of the interest rate fiasco and we wound up taking a mortgage for 16 percent! The man who handled the transaction for the builder/developer was named Sid. We referred to him as the snake because he was generally full of it and like a bad used car salesman was trying to screw us at every turn. We closed escrow and Sid the Snake went on his way.

Some two year later were walking with our son in the hills that surrounded the house we had purchased. My son spied a California King Snake and asked if he could keep it as a pet. “Please, oh please. I’ll take care of it and feed it.” I reluctantly agreed. After all, what would it hurt to have a baby 18 inch king snake in the house? We decided to name the snake Sid in honor of the original Sid the Snake. Things went swimmingly for about a month. I bought a terrarium and a “hot rock” for our new family addition. Then came that moment that all parents know all too well. My son lost interest and caring for Sid became the job of me and my wife. At this point it would be good to note that king snakes only eat live prey, preferably mice. A dead mouse will sit until it decomposes. They are constrictors.

So every few days, my wife and I had to go to the local pet store and buy live “feeder mice.” The routine was what we began calling the “drop and go.” My wife would drop the live mouse in the terrarium and smack! It was thoroughly gruesome; often, we heard the final squeal.

This went on for four years and Sid had grown to about five feet long. My wife enjoyed “exercising” Sid on the living room floor. I preferred to stay a safe distance away. Sid was a good pet in most senses of the word. He never bit either one of us and required only his hot rock, terrarium and the occasional live rodent.  What a life!

In 1986 we decided to move to Oregon and of course loading Sid into the moving van was out of the question. We sought out a Southern California nature center we had often visited. Because we had done a lot of volunteer work with this center, we thought it proper to make a gift of Sid to their children’s education center. We tearfully delivered Sid and his terrarium with the hot rock one summer day before our departure for Oregon. The center assured us both that Sid would have a good home.

Well, that was that! We moved to Oregon and thought of him every once in awhile, especially with reference to unsavory salesmen. In a Freudian slip, I once addressed a car salesman as Sid when his actual name was actually the agency’s owner. Oops!

As the years pushed ahead, we moved to Italy. After a few years living there, we returned to California for my 40th reunion in 2006. While we were in California, we decided to pay the nature center a visit because a recent wildfire had threatened it. When we arrived, we found the center intact. We went inside to see if any of the people who had worked there were still present. Unfortunately, they had all moved on. As we toured the facility, we found all of the photographs we had donated 20 years before. These were wonderful wildlife photos that my wife and I had taken of raptors, snakes and virtually every sort of Southern Californian inhabitant.  Then we visited the snake room. There on display was the skeleton of a California King Snake. Was it Sid? Nobody knew for sure but judging by the length we thought it was indeed our old friend.

We had come full circle in 24 years with Sid the Snake. Sid is always in our minds and conversation so it seemed right to mention him today. Sid the Snake: What a life!

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From → America, Family, Humor

  1. We met Sid’s cousin in San Diego. He was named John and a car dealer of the lowest COMMON denominator. He sort of slithered when he walked. Glad Sid went to a good home.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Timothy Price permalink

    Great story. It can be difficult to get wild caught snakes to eat dead prey, but with work, they usually will. Sid was a good snake. We had a 15% mortgage in 1982, that we refinanced to 8% a few years later. I took out a federal student loan at 9% the same year and put it in a money market account at 20% while I was in grad school. Those were the bad old days.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good old Sid!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this story! I’m so glad you and your wife took care of Sid after the son lost interest. Maybe he would have done okay being released in the wild, but probably lived longer in captivity. I hope the kids who visited the nature center learned to appreciate snakes, thanks to Sid.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I Sid umani, quelli subdoli che rifilano fregature agli altri, in effetti non fanno una vita migliore!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sfortunatamente, ho incontrato troppi Sids nella mia vita, specialmente nel mondo della musica. Preferisco i “veri” serpenti.


  7. This is so saddening. I am, however, happy that Sid experienced a loving home life. I hope he was happy at the center and did not feel abandoned. Scaly beings have moods and feelings too, but many people wouldn’t believe that.

    Liked by 1 person

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