Over the summer the biggest fear I have is that my sun-kissed children will turn into lazy beach bums whose idea of using their “noodle” is to throw the Styrofoam floating device into the pool. So I am constantly looking for ways to make my kids use their brains. With this in mind, I told my tween-age son that if he wanted me to even consider the idea of getting a new pet, he should put it in writing. Much to my surprise, he did. I found this note sitting on my bedside table.
You should get me a pet snake because I will care for it and it will keep me from getting a dangerous King Cobra when I am older. I will take complete care of it. If I get a snake I will pay all the expenses. The common garden snake eats crickets and grasshoppers, says Snakes of the World, and I will feed it that. Snakes of the World also confirms that the garden snake’s natural habitat is light vegetation, and I will make the terrarium look like that. You may think that you will have to clean up after it, but according to my book, snakes don’t produce waste.
My second reason I should get a snake now is it will suppress my psychological obsession with snakes, stopping me from getting a King Cobra when I am older living on my own. King Cobras are very dangerous and could attack me in less than five minutes. According to Wild about Snakes: Cobras if I were bitten by a King Cobra I would die in 15 minutes. There is enough venom in one bite to kill an elephant, imagine what it would do to me. Mom, do you want to see my death by King Cobra on the five o’clock news?
As you can see, I will take lots of care of the snake and I don’t want to be brutally murdered by a King Cobra. Mom, I believe you should take me to the pet store right now so I can buy my slithering new friend. After all Mom, you owe me. Remember Jumbo Jim the crab? I am still grief stricken over that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope to hear from you soon.
Wow … what do you say to that? The kid was pulling out the entire bag of tricks; trying to charm me by being so business-like with his well-written persuasive letter. Not to mention that he researched and quoted two different books! Two! Then just in case that did not close the deal, the little stinker went the guilt route! Well played my boy, well played.
I needed to respond, so I chose to do so in the way that any other guilty accidental crab-killing mama would do it … in writing!
Your letter was very informative and I must admit even caused me to stop to think about my response. I have no doubt you would take excellent care of your pet if you were to get one. However, my fear of snakes is too great and no matter how convincing an argument you gave, and it was very convincing, I must regretfully say, no.
I certainly hope you will rethink your plans to buy a dangerous King Cobra when you get older. As you mentioned it would be quite risky and I would hate to learn of your demise on the five o’clock news! But I do understand your psychological obsession with snakes, so I can only say, “I hope he doesn’t get out!”
I would like to apologize again, for the passing of your crab Jumbo Jim. It was a tragic accident. I thought he was biting you and did not mean to fling him across the room, thus giving him a heart attack. He is truly missed.
Thank you for taking the time to read my response. I hope that my decision in no way hampers the rest of our summer break. But while I have your undivided attention, let me close this letter by saying … go clean your room!
Sharon Fuentes is a regular contributor to Westchester Family.