The Snake Wrangler ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, turtle, snake, rattlesnake, wrangler, humorous writing, LDS humor, humor blog, funny, laugh)

A study done many years ago found that a fake turtle placed on the street caused drivers to stop their cars and get out, presumably to either help the turtle cross the street, or to wish it well. However, when a snake was placed on the road, people intentionally aimed for it, drove over it, backed up their cars, and drove over it again.

Can’t say that I blame them.

Normally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to run over a snake, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t invite one to my Bar Mitzvah, either. Mostly, because I’m not Jewish. But also because I’m not a guy. And then there’s the most important reason … snakes give me the whim-whams, and I don't want to be anywhere near them. Even in my car.

Therefore, I can think of no earthly reason why, when we were driving down the road and I saw a snake, that I felt an humanitarian urge to help it.

“Stop! Don’t hit it!” I yelled, causing my husband to slam on the brakes and thereby turning Corky Porky Pie, the dog, into a furry projectile in the back seat—that is, until his doggy harness caught and the impending rebound flung him back into place.

“Don’t hit what?” Russ asked frantically.

“That snake on the road!”

Russ raised his eyebrows. “You wanted me to stop for a snake? You almost had me roll the SUV, and send Corky through the windshield so we wouldn’t squash a ... a … reptile?”

Russ paused and leaned forward, peering through the front windshield. “You know you don’t like snakes. And I don’t even see one on the road.”

Okay, I’ll admit it; it did look like roadkill, so I decided to forgive Russ for not noticing it. I pointed at the snake through the window, then opened the car door and put one foot on the ground, intending to get out and move the critter. Until I realized I’d never herded a snake to safety before.

I put my foot back inside. “Ummm … what should I do to get it moving?”

Russ grinned. “You could always try picking it up by its rattles.”

“Very funny. I’m not trying to take it home for a pet, so I am not touching it. And it’s not a rattlesnake, either.”

Russ inclined his head toward the shoulder of the road. “Throw a few rocks at it.”

Three handfuls of gravel and four odd looks from passing motorists later, the snake hadn’t blinked an eye or flicked a forked tongue at me. Possibly because I was standing far, far away out of fear it would turn and slither up my pant leg.

That also might explain why my handfuls of gravel barely touched it.

“I give up,” I said getting back in the car. “Maybe it’s dead.”

And that’s when Russ showed what a really good guy he is. “Would you like me to help it off the road for you?”

“Yes, please!”

Russ got out and walked toward the snake, slapping his hands together as if that’s what all snake wranglers do. The snake didn’t move one iota.

I leaned out the window and gave my most sage advice. “It's probably dead.”

Russ stopped three feet away from the reptile’s tail, and then he smacked his foot against the ground. The creature just laid there, looking like an evening snack for a vulture.

“Yup, it's probably dead,” Russ said, echoing my earlier sentiments, and reaching out with his foot to nudge it.

“Just in case, you might not want to do that. You’re not as fast as you used to be,” I called. Corky Porky yapped his agreement.

“Oh, sure I am. I’m just as quick—”

The snake whipped around and lunged for Russ with its nine-hundred foot long fangs.

Never, in all the history of mankind, has an old dude jumped so high, or hopped so fast. But I have to say, I was proud of the old geezer. No, not the snake … Russ. He’d managed to annoy the snake enough that it slithered off the road and into the dirt, and all without getting bit. What more can you ask from a not-as-fast-as-he-used-to-be snake wrangler?

I only wish I’d had a video camera with me.

What's playing in my head: Nothing, I'm too busy laughing at the memory of Russ hopping all over the road, trying to get away from that sssssssssnake.


Contact Information

Please feel free to contact me at author(at)bythebecks(dot)com. I'd love to hear from you.

Monkey with a Death Wish

Posted by Cindy Beck

(Keywords: monkey, tiger, kids, tease, taunt, death wish, Cindy Beck, humorous writing, LDS humor, humor blog, funny, laugh )

You know how kids taunt and tease each other for fun? Apparently it's not confined to just kids. And it's a pretty safe bet on my part to say that almost all parents watching this will feel the urge to say, "Quit teasing, before someone gets hurt!"

What's playing in my head: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.

Watch for my upcoming humor book, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief, due for release in Dec 2009, and co-authored with Nichole Giles. The hilarious, true stories written by Nichole and me, as well as by other outstanding authors, will have you laughing up a storm.


My Writings ... by Cindy Beck

Mormon Mishaps and Mischief is an anthology of humorous stories of Latter-day Saints at their funniest. Compiled with anecdotes from multiple LDS authors, as well as ones written by co-authors Cindy Beck and Nichole Giles. Release date: December 2009--just in time for Christmas giving! (The book makes a great stocking stuffer!)

You can visit our LDS Humor Blog for more information and for humorous, weekly posts.


My story, "A Whap on the Head" is featured in the nationally published anthology, My Dad is My Hero, It's available at my website and you can click on the cover image (above) to read an excerpt. This book makes a great gift for Dad for Father's Day, birthday, or Christmas!


My nationally published short story, "Dancing in the Moonlight" is featured in Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors, and is available at my website. It's the story of my feelings about my mom's journey through breast cancer. Click on the image above to read an excerpt. This book is a fantastic birthday or Christmas gift for breast cancer survivors.

If you'd like to read a humorous article about my mom (a 13+ year breast cancer survivor) and her upcoming opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game (an honor bestowed for her volunteer breast cancer awareness work with Civista Health and before they realized she doesn't know how to throw a ball), click here.


"Horse on Lap" is the true story of our Arabian horse and the day she did something very unusual ... even for a horse! "Horse on Lap" is featured in Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, and is available at my website. Click on the image above to read an excerpt.


Chariots of Wimpy Fire ... by Cindy Beck

© 2009, Cindy Beck

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, run, jog, Run Through the Lavender 5K, sports training, humorous writing, LDS humor, humor blog, funny, laugh)

YES! I did it! I just completed the Run Through the Lavender 5K! (For those of you who missed out on the antics while I’ve been in training, you can catch up on them here.)

When we arrived at the lavender farm for the race on Saturday morning, we had to walk—along with six million other people who kicked up clouds of swirling dust—from the parking lot to the registration desk. I said to my husband, Russ, “Hack, cough … does this distance from the parking lot … cough, cough … to the registration desk count as part of the run? ‘Cause if it does, we’ll have completed the race before we’re even registered.”

I grabbed my throat. “Aacccckkkkk!”

Russ looked at me through dusty eyelashes. “What’s wrong?”

“I swallowed a bug!”

Looking back on it, I’m sure it was a sign I should turn around and leave. If women were meant to walk/run and risk inhaling bugs in the process, they’d have been built with a bug screen in front of their teeth.

After waiting in line with the same six million people from the parking lot, we received our registration numbers and free T-shirts. The kind of free shirts that cost $17 apiece when we registered. Apparently most runners are munchkins, because all the shirts were size small. Small, as in able to fit a six-year-old who hadn’t eaten for the past three years.

Good thing I hadn’t shown up in just a sports bra, thinking they were giving me a shirt I could wear. The up side though, was that I now had a Christmas present for my four-year-old granddaughter.

We got in line behind the masses at the starting gate. It reminded me of sheep in a chute, being lead to their demise, and I considered running my race by heading back to the car. Before I had a chance, though, someone spoke unintelligible words though a megaphone and then shot a gun in the air, almost killing a crow.

The experienced runners bolted from the gate, while the sane people stood around drinking water and doing deep knee bends to impress each other. Finally, the chute emptied enough for contestants to walk through without getting trampled, and after two or three minutes, Russ and I leisurely strolled over the starting line.

“You don’t think they’re been counting time since they almost shot that bird, do you?” I asked Russ.

“Naw. Why would they do something like that?”

We ambled along a little farther, and the sun came out—warm, bright sun that made us sweat, and made me wonder why they hadn’t found a way to air condition those lavender fields.

That’s also when I realized the pack had thinned and some of them were already three-quarters of the way done with the race. I looked behind, thinking there were at least another hundred people slower than us. Instead, all I saw was a little ol’ lady in a wheelchair and a pregnant woman pushing a stroller. And they were gaining fast.

“Run,” I said to Russ, as he swatted at a mosquito that had targeted him. “Run or we’re going to end up last!”

We ran. And walked. And then ran again.

I stepped on a pointed rock that dug into my heel, and then hopped on one leg for two yards until the pain subsided. “Old people should never run a 5K,” I said to Russ.

Russ wiped the perspiration from his eyes with his shirt sleeve. “It’s not the running that’s the problem. It’s the sweat. Why did you make me take those free T-shirts back to the car? I could’ve used one as a bandana.”

We ran some more. Finally, we only had two yards to the finish line. People cheered on the sidelines, and a burst of exhilaration flooded through me, along with a jolt of adrenaline. I would make it! I was a runner. Nothing could stop me. I was—aaccccckkkkkk!

Choking, I attempted to spit up the gum I'd been chewing that had slid down my throat the wrong way. If you’ve ever tried running, and then accidentally swallowed your gum and got it stuck half-way down, you know it brings you to a dead stop. There I stood, three feet from the end, trying to cough up a gum hairball.

Unbeknown to Russ, my original idea was to put on a burst of speed and beat him across the finish line. At that moment, my plan instantly changed to remaining conscious and not being carried away by an ambulance in front of six million people.

I swallowed hard, and in those few seconds it took to get the gum down, Russ crossed the finish line in front of me.

I should be disappointed, but I’m not. With all the help Russ gave while I’ve been training, I suppose he deserved to come in ahead of me. And there’s always the next 5K … when I plan to offer Russ a stick of gum just before the finish, and then run like heck to beat him.

(Although I may have taken a small amount of literary license in this, the Run Through the Lavender 5K was well-organized and the lavender fields were beautiful. Also, the race organizers were very kind to say they’d send the right size shirts if people would leave their addresses. I’d recommend the race to anyone … just don’t chew gum while you’re running it.)

What's playing in my head: Chariots of Fire, the really tired version.

My Olympic-Worthy Training ... by Cindy Beck

© 2009 Cindy Beck

(Keywords: Cindy Beck, run, jog, Run Through the Lavender 5K, Olympics, sports training, humorous writing, LDS humor, humor blog, funny, laugh)

The Olympics. They’ve always been a goal of mine. Well, at least to watch them on TV.

The other day, while doing extensive research into the voice and technique of other writers … all right I’ll admit it, I was reading blogs … I came across a mention of the Run Through the Lavender 5K.

Wait, let me think. Did that happen while reading blogs? No, I think it took place while researching how to make Twinkies.

At any rate, I found this website and suddenly a mysterious longing to enter the 5K overcame me. I figure some kind of bad mojo grabbed me, because my mind would never come up with a harebrained idea like that. Seriously, if I were meant to run, I’d have four long legs and a pedometer growing out of my head.

But … I digress. When I saw the website, I had visions of myself in spandex, running through the lavender fields of Mona, Utah, inhaling the spicy fragrance that wafted off the fields. That lasted all of thirty seconds, and was followed by the mental image of me trying to squeeze into those running clothes in the first place. The words "myself" and "spandex" do not belong in the same sentence, much less in the same vision.

Nevertheless, I felt determined to run … okay, jog … okay, mostly walk … that 5K. For the past two weeks, I’ve been in training. No fattening foods allowed. Except maybe for chocolate cake. And a cookie or two. And anything else I can get away with when my husband, Russ, isn’t looking.

In the evenings, Russ and I train by running up a humongous hill. It’s exhausting, but I have to say that carrying me on his shoulders has done wonders for Russ’s stamina. Mine, too, because balancing on top of an old, bald guy requires strength and endurance. And usually an extra donut or so.

The 5K takes place on July 11, 2009 at 7:00 in the morning. I’m really hoping you’ll all show your support by not coming, and that my family will be busy that day, so no one will be there to watch me stagger and trip over the finish line.

After that, I plan to go home and watch my video-taped version of the 1922 Olympics—a time in which men were men and spandex wasn’t invented.

What's playing in my head: Chariots of Fire by Vangelis