Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Parable of the Snake

There's an old joke about the two friends, Mike and Rory, trekking through the jungle when Rory steps on a snake which jumps up and bites him on the bum. Mike immediately uses his mobile phone to call the emergency services and talks to a snakebite specialist.

The specialist quickly identifies the snake as being lethally venomous, Rory will be dead within an hour unless action is taken immediately. He tells Mike to locate the fang marks on Rory’s bum, use his knife to make an incision between those marks and suck out as much blood as he can for about 5 minutes, taking care to spit it out. This exercise will, with luck, extract sufficient venom from Rory’s system to avoid the bite proving fatal.

By this time Rory is writhing in agony on the jungle floor and he asks plaintively “what did he say?” “You’re going to die” comes the almost instant response.

Recent events with an elderly relative requiring the application of medication in a particularly unpleasant and intimate way made me realise that the story is not a joke at all, it’s actually a parable for our modern world.

Some day, each of us will become the snakebite victim.

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