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June 5, 2012 6:35 AM   Subscribe

The more I tried to conjure the sound in my mind, the more I couldn’t. I wanted to hear what it had to say. Why not? If by evolutionary design an animal’s primary defense is a singular, infamous noise, such an animal must be able to teach us something about listening, right? And all of this comes from a rattle and a spasm. Hundreds of snake tails banging out a primordial choral arrangement inspired by one unmistakable sentiment: "Fuck off." I wanted to hear it. And then I would try to catch one, and maybe, just maybe, I would touch it.
Ryan and Mykol Knighton -- a blind journalist and his sighted brother -- attend the Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas. posted by davidjmcgee (10 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Sweetwater roundup previously on MeFi
posted by TedW at 6:52 AM on June 5, 2012


More recently previously.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:06 AM on June 5, 2012


There were so many "nuggets" in this story. (P.S. I HATE HATE HATE HATE snakes. Scared of coiled-up belts.)

...things happen to Mykol. What kinds of things? Just look at the way he spells his name.

“Cowboys!” Mykol squealed. “Oh my God! They’re everywhere. And on horses. And some of them are old!”


“I don’t want you to think I’m exaggerating, but it’s just, it’s all, all of it, snake.”


Jeb, mercifully, was about to disclose how the hell you pick up ten pounds of angry snake with an IKEA assembly tool.

We’d invented a new sport through a combination of Russian roulette and landscaping.
posted by Madamina at 8:09 AM on June 5, 2012


Metafilter: a primordial choral arrangement inspired by one unmistakable sentiment: "Fuck off."
posted by lalochezia at 9:00 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Snakes give me the willies... but I wanna meet Mycol.
posted by dfm500 at 10:47 AM on June 5, 2012


He didn't really describe the sound of the rattle that well. It's more of an electric shock than a sound, like it bypasses your ears and connects directly to a part of your lower spine that's dedicated to the backwards standing long jump. Long-term effects include a new interest in cowboy boots.
posted by nixt at 12:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


He didn't really describe the sound of the rattle that well.
But these rattles had more. They were something unto themselves. Their occupation of the pen rose, swelling, solid and defined, like the feeling of heat from a road. A thing. The sound physically pushed us back while it asked us to come closer. We put ourselves inside its vibrations. I could feel the rattling with my face. A quickening in the air as more joined in and intensified their spasms, then a thinning, a deflating lung, as some gave up and calmed down.
Huh. That really did it for me.
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:29 PM on June 5, 2012


The sound physically pushed us back while it asked us to come closer.
That may be a nice description of something, but "come closer" is the exact opposite of what a rattlesnake sounds like.

Maybe the sound of a hundred rattlers is more welcoming, but it seems unlikely.
posted by nixt at 4:11 PM on June 5, 2012


Dried balsmroot leaves in the wind can make a pretty good rattlesnake impression but once you've been up close and personal with an agitated rattlesnake you won't ever be fooled.

A couple weeks ago I hiked to the bottom of the canyon and back. About a quarter of the way back up I reach out to get a handhold and heard that unmistakable sound. All I could see, about a foot from my hand and just below eye level was about two inches of mesmerizing rattle sticking up out of the grass. So I backed up a bit the started back up the canyon at an angle away from the snake. Had I not been alone I might have been more curious but I didn't like the idea of being bitten by a snake near the bottom of the canyon and forty miles from the nearest hospital.
posted by the_artificer at 7:47 PM on June 5, 2012


Maybe the sound of a hundred rattlers is more welcoming, but it seems unlikely

I remember watching a show about 20 years ago about rattlesnakes - a white-coated researcher brought the camera crew into the storage room where they kept about 60 rattlesnakes in individual cages. The sound that spilled out of the room when the dude opened the door made my hair stand on end. I will never forget that noise. Actually, screw that, my SPINE will never forget that noise because my poor little primate hind-brain was screaming at me to run far far away.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:24 AM on June 6, 2012


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