When we started dating I was working crappy sales jobs and Mr. G was working crappy production jobs. One of his production jobs was walking through a snake pit, but he was delighted to keep the pants and boots. He wore those pants until they were threadbare. They did look good on him.
*0:50 in is Mr. G’s feet
When I went to Mr. G’s apartment for the first time his mother called. Of course he didn’t answer the phone, and we giggled like children listening to her leaving a message on the answering machine.
Robert. Raaaahhhhbert. Your sister tells me you’re standing in a snake pit all day. Raaaahhhbert I don’t like this Robert. This is not a career. (she punctuated This and Not)
And it was fabulous, because I’d never heard a Long Island accent quite like it before.
So now we fast forward fifteen years and Mr. G is casting for something he’s directing. At dinner he tells us he’s cast a monkey, a rattlesnake and a hundred random snakes. He’s irritated that he can’t get a hundred rattlers.
“Why can’t you get a hundred rattlers?” I asked him.
And then he started talking with his hands, “I don’t know. Some regulations say that you can’t sew their mouths shut anymore. I told the producers that I needed a hundred rattle snakes and they kept coming back to me saying that they could only get one. I explained to them that it’s really easy, all you have to do is milk their venom and sew their mouths shut, it’s one little stitch so they can strike but they can’t bite. I’ve done it. Those snakes launched at me for days.”
I shook my head and lowered my gaze. “So what did you do?”
The kids were rapt as Mr G continued, “I got on the phone with the snake guy and said, ‘listen man, I know you can get me a hundred rattlers. You just milk the venom into this little drum and add a stitch. I don’t need them to bite, but I do need them to strike.’ and he told me that he used to do that but some damn law was passed where you’re not allowed to sew animal’s mouths shut anymore.”
“Even snakes?” I asked.
“Even snakes.” He sadly replied.
We chewed our local free range organic chicken breast in silence, hoping the shot would still be good with non venomous snakes.