Dad Expectations

It was going to be a duel. It was meant to be a duel. The snake was in my pool to test me.

File Under: Memoir

Yesterday I did something I never want to do again. Ever. Here’s the situation: It’s a Thursday morning in Houston, Texas. 77% humidity. My wife is at work, and my kids are at school. I’m drinking my coffee, tapping away at my phone, and something catches my attention.

We have a pool in our backyard and we have a pool vacuum that is on a timer. I watched our vacuum swimming around and I noticed that there seemed to be something else in there. Something else in the pool. Something with no legs. Something that looked like an extremely small snake. I went outside with dread in my heart and confirmed my suspicions. It was a snake. I want to be clear here, it was a very small snake. I also want to be clear that I think that snakes are the worst.

It was swimming on the surface of the water. The snake was swimming. May as well get the pool filled in. I’m never going in there again. I thought is it a water moccasin? A non-venomous water snake? I didn’t know what to do. I quickly typed in “Houston snake in pool” in the search bar on my phone and got no help. I googled “Houston snake in pool animal control” and got a number to call.

A police officer answered the phone. It was not an animal control officer. As soon as he said hello I felt defeated. I knew the outcome before I even said a word.

Me: “Hi, umm I have a snake in my pool and I’m not sure what to do”.

Officer: “Do you have a net?”

Me: “No, I don’t”

Officer: “Do you have a shovel?”

Me: “A digging shovel? No.”

Officer: “How big is the snake.”

Me: “Not very big. Pretty small actually.”

Officer: “Do you want me to call animal control?”

Me: “No, I’ll take care of it”.

I hung up the phone.

It was going to be a duel. It was meant to be a duel. The snake was in my pool to test me. To test my mettle and problem-solving abilities. To see if I was cut out for homeownership. To see if I had what it takes to conquer nature in the form of a very very small snake. I had to defend my family. I had to make the pool safe for my kids. I needed to know that Daddy (me) could take care of them and keep them safe. I also needed an awesome story to tell my friends.

I got the broom for the pool. It has the ability to extend. I extended that broom as far as it would go. I approached the pool where the snake (very small in case you forgot) was trying to escape. I put the broom in the pool. I got the broom under the snake. I lifted the snake. The snake curled around the broom. I lifted the broom out of the water with the snake on it and put it down on the side of the pool. Time froze.

Everything stopped as the snake plotted its next move. I plotted my move. What if the snake advanced. I would swing that broom like with reckless abandon and with all of my might and I would end that snake!

The snake slithered away. I won. I was the winner. I was the champion.

It was confirmed in that moment that as a Dad you have to do things that you don’t want to do. Or think you can’t do. Or want someone else to do for you. But I haven’t felt as proud of my dadding as I did in that moment in a long time.

And no one was there to see it.

Michael Mason

Michael Mason

Mike Mason is the founder and publisher of Menschite. He's an educator, musician, podcaster, and father of three. In 2015, Mike created the award-winning Good Stuff Kids Podcast through which he eventually realized his dream of interviewing Raffi. Originally from Buffalo, New York, he's currently based in Houston, Texas.