animals, disasters, healthcare, Texas

When snakes and hawks attack out of nowhere…

Happy Friday, everybody. We have beautiful weather this morning. The sun is shining, and the weather report says the temperatures will top out at about 84 degrees, which is a bit warmer than it’s been, but still not super hot. I’ll take that over some of the weather I’ve been reading about in other locations in the world. I am, for damned sure, glad I don’t live in Texas anymore, even though I still vote there. The extreme weather is just one reason why I am grateful we’re not living there anymore. Another is because of the extreme wildlife in Texas.

This morning, as Bill and I were eating breakfast, I was reading The New York Times, and I came across the bizarre story of what happened to Texas resident, Peggy Jones, late last month. I’ve run out of free articles to share, so here’s the CNN link.

The reporter wrongly states that this happened on August 1st. According to other news sources and Wendell Jones’s Facebook page, it actually happened on July 25th.

Peggy Jones, age 64, and her husband, Wendell, have been married for 45 years, and they have four grandchildren. The couple own an investment property in Silsbee, Texas, which is about one hundred miles north of Beaumont. The property has been in their family since 1850. It takes about three hours to mow the grass– and that’s with tractors. But the mowing work has to be done, and Peggy and Wendell Jones have been doing it together without issue for many years.

July 25th seemed like an ordinary Texas day, with temperatures climbing into the triple digits. Peggy was out on her tractor, far from the treeline, mowing the grass. All of a sudden, out of the clear blue sky, a dark colored, four-and-a-half foot long snake landed on her arm. It immediately tightly coiled itself around her forearm. Naturally, Peggy started screaming bloody murder, while trying to remove the serpent, which responded by coiling even tighter and striking at her face. Fortunately, Peggy was wearing her glasses, so the snake’s bites weren’t making contact with her face.

As Peggy struggled to knock the snake off of her arm, her tractor continued to creep forward. She screamed for help but Wendell was in the front yard, and he couldn’t hear his wife’s cries. The noise from Wendell’s own tractor, and the sound of nearby traffic, were drowning out Peggy’s hysterical shrieks.

Then, just when Peggy thought things couldn’t get worse, along came a pissed off hawk, who had come to reclaim the unlucky reptile. Apparently, the mighty hawk had planned to have the snake over for dinner and wasn’t about to accept the snake’s regrets. 😉 The hawk swooped down and grabbed the snake, but it was wrapped so tightly around Peggy’s forearm that her arm was forced upward as the hawk tried to fly away with its uncooperative prey. Again and again the hawk unsuccessfully tried to take the serpent, beating its wings in Peggy’s face and obscuring her vision, as she tried not to fall off the tractor or get bitten by the snake.

Finally, after about four swoops, the hawk was able to recapture the snake. It flew off with its prize, leaving a stunned, shocked, and traumatized Peggy in its wake. She looked down at her arm and saw that the hawk had mangled it pretty well. Peggy’s forearm was covered in scratches, puncture wounds, bruises, and cuts, and it was bleeding profusely. She said the pain was incredibly intense, and she was still screaming and hollering when her husband finally became aware of what had happened.

Wendell hadn’t seen the joint snake and hawk attack, but he soon found his wife in complete hysterics. The two went to a hospital, where medical professionals cleaned and bandaged the wounds and gave Peggy a course of antibiotics. The story was so strange that, according to Wendell’s Facebook account of the attack, even the doctor wanted to know if Peggy was on some kind of hallucinogenic drug and had just imagined the whole thing. Fair warning. If you click the link, you will see a photo of Peggy’s torn up arm. It’s pretty gruesome looking.

According to the multiple accounts I’ve now read about this extraordinary incident, Peggy was sure this was how she was going to die… in what I think is an utterly absurd way. She screamed out to Jesus as she tried to survive the attack, not just by a potentially venomous snake, but also by a hungry and tenacious bird of prey with very sharp talons.

Peggy’s glasses were chipped from the snake’s repeated strikes, and they found a substance on them that might have been snake venom, although the stuff was never tested. Fortunately, the couple reported that Peggy never experienced any symptoms of a venomous snakebite that time, although according to the article in the New York Times, Peggy was also bitten by a different snake two years ago. I sure hope Peggy has good health insurance. This incident is probably going to cost a bundle in medical bills.

Naturally, Peggy’s trauma and suffering isn’t confined to just the physical pain of the injuries she received from the attack. She’s now having nightmares, and has said that they range from a re-enactment of the attack to seeing snakes all over the place in her dreams. Honestly, as someone who is a bit prone to having phobias, I can hardly blame her for being completely freaked out about this. How does a person even process such a strange situation, let alone recover from it? It’s like something out of the Bible. Or, maybe, a Desperate Housewives plot? It’s just insane! I think it would make me agoraphobic.

It just goes to show you that life can be incredibly weird. You never know when you’ll be faced by a completely crazy threat of some sort. Peggy was just trying to mow the grass when she got attacked by wild animals… and not even from the ground. Since when do snakes fly? We certainly wouldn’t expect to have one fall out of the sky, right? But apparently, Peggy says she’s seen hawks catching snakes all the time and dropping them on fences, only to come down and pick them up again. I guess it never occurred to her that she might serve as a “fence” to a snake with a strong will to live and a hungry and very determined hawk, who also wanted to live, and needed to eat…

Peggy and Wendell Jones have seen the hawk flying around their property and they think it lives nearby. Hopefully, it will keep a tighter grip on its prey, the next time it hankers for a hunk of snake meat. Or, at least we can hope that next time, there isn’t a human being there to break the snake’s fall.

I am very impressed by Peggy’s pluck, as instead of immediately finding a good guy with a gun to dispatch the hawk, she says “I consider myself to be the luckiest person alive… I was attacked by a snake and a hawk and I lived to tell about it.” She wasn’t just attacked by a snake and a hawk… but a snake and a hawk at the same time! That’s a story for her grandchildren to pass down… not to mention the doctors who treated her wounds. File it in the “now I’ve seen everything” category!

I’m sure if I sat here long enough and thought about it, I could come up with a life lesson or moral to attach to this situation. Something along the lines of, “you never know what will happen when you come between someone’s life and someone else’s dinner…” It seems almost oddly symbolic, too… given the crazy political situation in Texas right now, and how certain people in that state are preying on the weak and gentle to stay in power and keep being “fed” money and power.

This story makes me even more glad to be living outside of Texas… where there are literal venomous snakes, as well as political ones.

Well… that about does it for today’s fresh post. Got to talk to one of Bill’s colleagues, rescue the laundry, practice guitar, and walk the dog. Perhaps I’ll be back tomorrow… Perhaps you will be back, too.

book reviews

Repost: Reviewing Double Header: My Life With Two Penises…

Here’s a book review I wrote in February 2015. I’m reposting it as/is in 2020, because Bill reminded me of it the other day. Bill doesn’t have two penises… I just like to ask him non-sensical questions to get a rise out of him. I asked him how he’d like to have a penis that was like an elephant’s trunk, and he proceeded to tell me there was a guy in Africa who actually had a problem like that. Suddenly, I was reminded of Diphallic Dude, who was born with two working penises and wrote a book about it. So here’s the review. Enjoy!

One would think that at my age, I’d be too mature to read about a guy who’s gone through life with two penises.  I love a good true story, though, and like a lot of Americans, I am fascinated by so-called freaks of nature.  And when I say “freaks”, I’m not really trying to be derogatory.  I myself am a bit of a freak of nature given than I’m 42 and still have two baby teeth (ETA: I am now 48 and only have one baby tooth).  I’m a freak of nature for other reasons, too, but that’s for another post at another time.

Diphallic Dude is a freak of nature because he was born with a rare condition called diphallia.  Supposedly, it affects just one in 5.5 million people.  Although Diphallic Dude (who also goes by Double Dick Dude) used to be distressed about his spare penis, he now embraces having an extra cock.  In fact, having two penises seems to have given him a reason for living and even launched a writing career started by his turn on Tumblr.  That’s why he published his book, Double Header: My Life With Two Penises.

I first read about Diphallic Dude a few weeks ago, when I ran across an article about him.  I don’t remember where I found the article, though I know I linked to it when I blogged about him and other weird people, like the lady who knits from her vagina.  Actually, Diphallic Dude has been the subject of a whole lot of articles, reviews, and comic bits.  He’s been interviewed by Rolling Stone and  Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien both featured him in their opening monologues.

Diphallic Dude goes by nicknames because his privacy, understandably, is very important to him.  He claims that he’s not making any money off the proceeds of his book, having given up his rights to royalties to an unnamed publisher in exchange for maintaining his anonymity.  Personally, I don’t believe that Diphallic Dude gave up all of the money for the rights to his story.  I’m not sure why he’d claim that or why anyone would even care.  I suspect people will read his story because they are curious about his condition, not because they want to know if he’s cashing in on being a man with two dicks.  But ultimately, that’s his business.  I am not in a position to prove or disprove his claim that he’s not making money off of his extra pecker.  I wouldn’t blame if he did make money from it. 

Diphallic Dude talks to Dr. Drew…

I think Diphallic Dude’s story is very interesting.  He’s 25 years old, apparently horny, and has a genetic anomaly that is extraordinarily rare.  In the right hands, his book could have been really excellent.  It’s not excellent, though, because too much of it consists of lurid anecdotes about his many sexual escapades with men and women.  If his writing about the escapades was of better quality and less ludicrous, that wouldn’t bother me so much.  Unfortunately, a whole lot of what he writes sounds like utter bullshit and is pretty disgusting to boot.  Many of the details he provides about his sexual experiences are extremely graphic and seem both improbable and painful. 

The beginning of Diphallic Dude’s story is much better than the ending.  He writes about what it was like to grow up with two functioning penises and includes some interesting tidbits about his parents.  But then when he’s in high school, he lost his virginity to some girl who spread it around school that he has two dicks.   Kids can be cruel, and Diphallic Dude did have to go through “hell” for a couple of years thanks to teasing from his peers.  He was so upset about the negative attention that he wanted to have one of the penises removed.  His father talked him out of it (and I’m sure that any males reading this are probably cringing right about now).  Diphallic Dude has had surgery down there, but only to make his penises more attractive and functional.

Having two penises has apparently landed Diphallic Dude into a number of different crazy situations.  At one point, he writes about having a wealthy “sugar mama” in her forties who let him move into her house.  He did mundane chores for her and entertained her with his diphallia.  She supported him financially, until one time she left him in charge of her house after her mother died.  She had to take care of her mother’s estate, so Diphallic Dude took the opportunity to throw wild parties in her house and entertain other lovers.  She kicked him out, but not before giving him a huge check as a going away gift (a detail I find hard to believe).

Diphallic Dude is careful to explain that he has to ejaculate often or else his prostate swells.  Not being a man, I have a hard time relating to that, but I’m sure my husband can explain it to me.  Suffice to say, it’s a good thing Diphallic Dude doesn’t subscribe to a religious faith that prohibits masturbation or he’d be in a world of hurt.  Apparently, he has no shortage of willing sex partners, both male and female, who voluntarily help him massage his prostate so he can release the pressure.

What I think would have made this a better book, besides a more creative writing style and better editing, is more insight into what makes his condition difficult.  There is a poignant side to being blessed (or cursed) with two dicks.  So few people have ever had to live with this condition and many of those who have also have had serious medical problems that would have made simply living, let alone having wild sex, a lot less fun.  Diphallic Dude is fortunate in that his penises haven’t been associated with any truly life threatening or disfiguring medical problems.  On the contrary, Diphallic Dude says he has a very strong sex drive and enjoys having sex with men and women.  According to his book, his condition has made it possible for him to give his partners the thrill of their lives (and again, I think a lot of what he writes about his “sexcapades” is bollocks or at least a bit exaggerated, but I can’t prove that).  He focuses a little too much on the fun part of being diphallic and not enough on the not so fun side.  The end result is that too much of Double Header comes off as disingenuous and fabricated.    

Also, toward the end of the book, he mostly includes Q and A sessions from Reddit, rather than any solid original writing.  I can read Reddit for the cost of my Internet connection.  I don’t need to pay $7.99 for that.

Despite my criticisms, I suspect that Diphallic Dude will sell a lot of books.  I wish him luck.  While I have definitely read better books than his, I would recommend Double Header to those who are curious about diphallia.  I’d just recommend taking what Diphallic Dude writes with a huge grain of salt.  I also recommend reading this critical review of Double Header by Mark Shrayber.  I think he makes a lot of valid points, although Diphallic Dude was not too happy about that review.

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