Then one morning the inevitable happened. I looked over and thought, “That wire certainly looks thicker than usual.” When I got closer I discovered the reason—a black racer had wound itself around it, and was already halfway through the window.
I grabbed a broom and smacked at the window, hoping that would scare the snake back outside. It worked the opposite way. The snake’s slow slither through the opening turned into a swift swish all the way inside, dropping with a thud on the floor. Yikes! Now I had a snake in my house. I was not going to leave it. If I lost track of it, I knew I would never sleep again with a snake somewhere inside, especially one that had shown a proclivity for climbing. I could just imagine it wound around the posts at the head of my iron bed while I slept.
Luckily the boys were home that day. They ran to get the things I called for while I kept an eye on the unwelcome visitor. Together we did our best to scare that snake out the door with brooms and mops and anything else we could find. It kept curling into a ball or hiding under a chair. At one point, the thought crossed my mind to try sucking it up in the vacuum—at least the hose would be a perfect fit!
I came to my senses before that thought became a spoken idea, and told them to bring a box. Lucas found one and put the box on the floor, open side toward the snake, while I swept it with the broom. Every time it neared the box, it flattened itself and slid underneath it instead of going inside. We tried several times, but finally my nerves were shot. I was through trying to be nice to this one of God’s creatures.
Once more I sent the boys on an errand. When they returned, I stood on a chair, loaded the proffered .22 pistol with rat shot so I wouldn’t blow a hole in either the floor or the wall (normally I use a shotgun with a much heavier load) and shot that snake where he lay. I gave him his chance and he blew it. He was not going to use my house as his own private playground.
All that for a literal snake, while we had voluntarily let loose an electronic snake in our home. When we chose to go to the expense of installing that other kind of snake, it was with a purpose—we were seldom able to watch our teams play; this was the only way and the cheapest in the long run. But our boys knew that it was not there for indiscriminate watching. More than once we uttered that mean word, “No.” More than once we turned it off and said, “Never again,” for a particular show. We even limited their hours of “good” show time. We did not want to be responsible for creating illiterate, overweight, glassy-eyed couch potatoes.
The first professional television drama began on September 11, 1928, “The Queen’s Messenger,” and broadcast television has come a long way from those innocent days. Calling it a snake is an apt metaphor, especially when you remember the first appearance of a snake in the Bible.
Not everyone is careful with that snake in their homes. Not only do they let it sit in the corner unmonitored, but many even let it baby-sit their children. It feeds their minds and their hearts for hours every day. It teaches them that sin is acceptable, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is either hateful or crazy. It inures them to foul language and crude comments. It teaches children—and adults--to take pleasure watching the sins of others, to admire those sinners and want to emulate them, right down to the clothes they wear. It tells them that nothing is sacred, except the right to do anything they please without censure.
Some people do keep snakes as pets, but they learn how to handle them, and know better than to let them loose unattended. If you are going to keep an electronic snake in your home, remember to keep a close eye on it, and never let it teach your children. Abdicating your responsibility as parents is aiding and abetting the enemy.
For I have told [Eli] that I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons did bring a curse upon themselves, and he restrained them not, 1 Sam 3:13.