My friend Chris is an angler. He has acute angle for just about everything, since he used to be in sales. He and his girlfriend Caryn angle sometimes from a rowboat on a lake in upstate New York. Recently instead of a fish they angled a snail. This in itself is interesting, because snails are not very fast, and they are usually attached to a rock. A snail cannot go and chase your line with its bait on it. You pretty much have to catch a snail on its own terms, as he sits there on the rock. Which leads me to believe that Chris catches mostly rocks when he goes fishing.
I teased him and asked if he used a special line to catch the snail and he said, yes: “Do you come here often??”
So they get the snail home and foolishly put it in a tank with water. If it was me I would have done what I always did when I was a kid: put it in a shoebox with some grass and lettuce, and poke a couple holes in the top. Three hours later you have a shoebox with some grass, lettuce and a dead snail. But NO. It turns out snails are asexual, which means they dress well, get manicures and pedicures, spend a lot of time grooming fine lines into their facial hair, and vehemently refuse to discuss their sexual orientation. Unless I’m thinking of metrosexuals?
A snail doesn’t need a partner to have sex. It needs only a warm, comfortable environment and internet access. It saunters along the ground by the wall of the tank, in which it can see its own reflection, and goes, “Damn! I gotta hit dat.”
With my luck I would walk in on the snail having sex with itself, and we’d both be embarrassed, and I would have to explain that it’s perfectly normal, perfectly natural, all snails do it, blah, blah, blah. I dread having that talk.
So six days later there were 17 snails in the tank. They are smart enough to keep a quorum with an odd number so they can break any voting ties, unlike the New York legislature.
Two days after that, Chris asked me what he was going to do with 21 snails? Well, you could make a deal with a French restaurant. French people have a way of selling you for 37 dollars a plate of something you would normally pay $150 to have an exterminator get rid of. Come to think of it I wish he would go fishing in our pantry because I think we have a mouse.
Or he could sell them to a pet store. Someone told me that they sell snails there, but I don’t know if the snail is the pet or something you feed to another pet. I’m afraid to ask, because they know me at the pet store as someone who says weird things. I once burst into the pet store and yelled, “I want a TURTLE- and make it SNAPPY!”
Or he can use them to clean his car windshield. After 10 or 12 snails play touch football on your window, you can bet there will be not one speck of algae on it, although you might not be able to see through the dried slime.
Snails come with problems. Yes, they own their own homes, but like so many these days, they are underwater. And trying to run away from home presents a logistical nightmare.
Snails leave a trail. So you can ask, who took the last Dove Bar? And the snail will turn red and go, Not me, brother. But of course the oozy evidence leads right to the freezer….
Plus they move incredibly slowly. If you get into a checkout line at Home Depot that is not moving no way, no how, there is a snail working the register, guaranteed. And then it becomes tempting to finally learn how to use that Self-Checkout island where two people who could have been running registers tell you how to use it.
On the plus side they multiply really fast- I started taking one with me to the restaurant to calculate the tip. I look like a friggin’ genius now.
Incidentally, the snail’s antennae are not used for bringing in ESPN, as previously thought. The two large antennae are it’s eye stalks (it doesn’t see very well, even though its eyes get there a few minutes earlier than the rest of it), and the smaller ones are for feeling and smell. So if you punch a snail in the big antenna it will only be able to see half of you leave, but if you punch it in the small antenna, you will hurt its feelings.
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