Rick Gregory, Writer

Translating Messages From Heads To Hearts

Rattlesnakes & Integrity

Let’s call him Rattlin’ Waldo!

Yep. I met this guy, well maybe not this exact guy, since this is a photo I got from the Bolsa Chica Conservancy trailer at Warner and PCH. But the one I met looked just like this one! I was on the trail that goes from the end of the Wintergarden Flood Channel north to Warner Ave. I was pumping my arms, fast-walking and trying to keep up a “just-starting-to-sweat” pace, when I saw this guy’s head about 12” into the trail. I JUMPED STRAIGHT UP and over him before he scuttled back into the brush. Where was Alex from So-Cal Rattlesnake Removal when I needed him?

According to Placer Snake Removal, “Over the next few weeks, at least during warmer periods, snakes will likely begin expanding outside den areas seeking meals and mates. This will mark the beginning of general snake sightings on trails, and over time, near homes that back up to open space. We encourage people to stay on trails when hiking, and if you discover snake at your home or business not to mess with it — let alone try to kill it.” 


Don’t. Try. To. Kill. It. As if . . .

For the sake of argument, let’s call this guy in the photo Rattlin’ Waldo (RW for short). He showed up when I was least expecting him – and he could have presented a significant risk if I didn’t deal with his presence. What were my options?

  • I could have fled the scene – which I did quickly in this case
  • I could have ignored him and hoped he just left me alone (I still would have had to step around him)
  • I could have stopped and tried to study up on him – get to know him a little better
  • I could have tried to fight or conquer (kill?) him, pitting my boxing or kicking skills against his striking skills and attempt to overpower him while avoiding the 2-fang injection
  • I could have tried to charm him into submission 

This interaction made me think specifically of sin (in the Christian world) or of just generally dealing with the temptation to compromise integrity. Opportunities to sin or to violate integrity abound every day. Often, it’s in the little things. Sadly, the more we compromise in the little situations, the easier it is to cave in the big ones!

So, in dealing with the RW’s of our world, how do we respond?

  • Run?
  • Ignore?
  • Explore?
  • Fight?
  • Rationalize?

As I move through the rest of my life, I hope I RUN every time from the temptation to compromise. How about you? What are your thoughts?