Down East 2013 ©
The question on every Mainer’s mind this past week has been: Is there any chance the giant snake that’s allegedly roaming around Rumford will eat the record number of mosquitoes that are about to hatch before the little buggers suck up every drop of blood in the state?
The answer appears to be: no.
For one thing, there probably isn’t any giant snake. For another, even if there was such a creature, giant snakes do not eat mosquitoes. As any idiot who has ever watched a giant-snake movie can tell you, the slithering beasts eat human beings. They usually start by crushing and swallowing the actor playing the skeptical guy – the fool who refuses to believe the monster exists.
Which, in this case, would be me. If I don’t post a column next week, you’ll know I was wrong, and I’m now causing that distinctive bulge about one third of the way down an enormous reptilian digestive system. In that case, you might want to tighten up your local snake defense systems. And remember to follow these simple instructions garnered from years of watching low-budget flicks on TV:
When somebody says, ‘Let’s separate and meet back here in an hour’ – don’t do it. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the rendezvous, you’ll discover at least one of your party is missing and presumed consumed.
When you’ve finally found a place to make camp and somebody says, I think we’re safe here because snakes don’t like fire – run like hell. Mutant snakes are never bothered by fire.
And when the ominous snake music starts to swell in the background – relax. The snake will eat the orchestra first.
According to an account in the Lewiston Sun Journal , a seventeen-foot boa constrictor capable of strangling the life out of a mini-van has been spotted in the vicinity of the canal in Rumford. As of last week, a reptile expert was planning to visit the site to check for snake poop containing mini-van parts, but since there’s been no further reports on his progress, it’s possible he’s been eaten and reduced to snake poop himself.
That often happens in the movies.
Which brings us to the mosquitoes. Due to the record rainfall in recent weeks, entomologists are predicting an unprecedented increase in incidents of insect sex . The results will begin to arrive in just seven to fourteen days in the form of tiny flying bloodsuckers.
If you’ve ever watched one of those nature-gone-crazy films, you know what happens next. Swarms of the little critters sweep across the landscape leaving nothing behind but desiccated corpses and looted blood banks.
Still, there’s some good news. Scientists say that in spite of the population boom among bugs, the chances we’ll all be infected with West Nile virus or other horrible mosquito-borne diseases is unlikely to increase. That’s a comfort.
Snakes are eating us. Mosquitoes are drinking us. You’d think somebody would have a little sympathy. And they do. But not for us. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to make sure we don’t try to turn the tables by eating the snakes and mosquitoes. PETA sent a request to artist Robert Indiana, who’s having a big show at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, that he add something to one of his most famous word sculptures .
The artwork, mounted on the museum roof, consists of five huge discs that all say “EAT.” PETA wants Indiana to include the word “vegetarian” underneath. He’s reportedly refused, but rumor has it that a compromise could be worked out involving adding the words “my shorts.”
Because, you know, underwear could be made out of plants.
Speaking of our vegetable brethren, they’re having nearly as tough a time of it as those of us beset by snakes and mosquitoes. The rain has caused many agricultural crops to rot in the ground  and caused outbreaks in potato fields of late blight disease (winner of the award for the least appropriate name for a disease, since it seems like a blight that shows up at this time of year should be called early or precocious or something).
On the bright side, not having anything to eat may help reduce a weighty problem. The Trust for America’s Health has released a new report  called “F as in Fat,” which claims that 24.7 percent of Maine adults are now obese.
That’s up from 23.7 percent a year ago. And it makes Maine the fattest state in New England.
No wonder we’re attracting giant snakes. We’re the serpent world’s equivalent of pick-your-own pork chops.
But on balance, we’re probably doing more damage to reptiles than they’re doing to us. Take, for instance, the turtle. It’s that season when the shelled creature’s thoughts turn to procreation. But a suitable mate may not be close at hand. So, the hormonally agitated turtle sets out to find love, a journey that often involves crossing a busy road.
The result can be messy.
To raise public awareness of the presence of hot-blooded wanderers from the cold-blooded world, the towns of Wells, South Berwick, and York have posted turtle-crossing signs on key roadways , encouraging motorists to slow down.
Which prevents turtle collisions, but makes the drivers easy prey for giant snakes. I guess it’s just one of those trade-offs we have to make for the environment.
Speaking of which, there is some good news. The murre is back.
You may not have been aware that the murre had gone anywhere, but apparently it had. Murres are described as penguin-like, black-and-white birds that used to nest on rocky islands off the Maine coast until high property taxes drove them away. But now, a murre egg has been discovered on Matinicus Rock , indicating the species has returned, and we will soon be feasting on delicious murre-egg omelets.
That is, if the giant snakes don’t get them all first.
In a related development, minor league basketball, once believed to be extinct in the state, will return to Portland this fall. The Maine Red Claws, an expansion franchise of the National Basketball Association Development League, announced last week that they’ve signed affiliation agreements with the NBA’s Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats.
Which raises this important question: The Charlotte Bobcats are an NBA team?
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.