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Darrell Huckaby - The tale of too many bosses and a poorly placed snake

I have way too many bosses.

At home I have my lovely wife, Lisa, of course, who tells me what to do and when to do it on a 24/7 basis.

My primary job, once I leave the house, is as a school teacher. Lord, you wouldn't believe the chain of command in the school system. I have all sorts of bosses at the county office and in my building I have a principal and several assistant principals and registrars and counselors and a department head - plus the Home Ec teacher down the hall, who technically isn't my boss, but I like getting those food samples every Friday, so I always do what she says.

I write for a number of newspapers and magazines and Web sites and they all have publishers and editors and secretaries - all of whom get to tell me what to do, to a degree, and when to do it.

Plus I have three kids - and you all know what that means.

It's a wonder I ever get to make a decision for myself. Come to think of it, I seldom do.

And besides all of the task-masters I have already mentioned, I have another boss, too.

Mr. Moby.

As you probably already know, every Wednesday morning for the past four years I have been doing a commentary on the Moby in the Morning country radio network. The spot is called "What the Huck!" I call in and tell semi-funny stories which sometimes make an editorial statement under the surface and sometimes don't. It has been a very successful gig for me and wherever I go I meet people who listen to the show - although a lot of them seem surprised that I actually wear shoes and that my real voice isn't nearly as country-sounding as the one I use on the radio.

And since Moby owns the network and since I like doing the commentaries, he gets to tell me what to do and when to do it, too. Just what I need, right? Another boss.

Well, I told you all of that to tell you this.

My radio boss ain't nearly as smart as I have been giving him credit for being.

I called in Wednesday morning, just like always, expecting to shoot the breeze for a minute or two, and then have him cue me with, "Here's Darrell Huckaby and 'What the Huck!'"

But Moby wasn't in the studio. Some cute-sounding female named Jill was. Now I don't have a thing in the world against chit-chatting with a cute-sounding female, but it kind of caught me off guard. My first thought was, "Just what I need. Another boss!"

Actually, that wasn't my first thought when I heard Jill's voice, but Lisa was sitting right there at the kitchen table and she also reads this column from time to time, so I had better not say what my first thought was. But I am pretty sure that my second thought was the boss thing.

At any rate, after I got over the shock of not hearing Moby on a Wednesday morning, I asked where he was. I wasn't ready for the answer and, quite frankly, thought she was joking when she said, "Moby's in the hospital. He got bit by a snake - a copperhead!"

"You've got to be kidding me!" I replied - except I probably didn't say "kidding."

Immediately my thoughts went back to a picture Moby had sent me, just a few days earlier, in which he was posing beside a giant stag he had killed, I assumed, on a recent hunting trip. In my mind's eye I could see poor Moby, walking through the woods, all alone, and being struck by the vicious copperhead. But that ain't what happened, y'all. The next words out of Jill's mouth revealed the awful truth.

"Moby saw a snake in his driveway and decided to pick it up and throw it in the woods."

Y'all. News flash, here. You don't pick up a copperhead whether it is in your driveway or in the deep dark woods. You just don't.

Now to me, every snake I see is a cotton-mouthed-copper-headed-water-rattler. Don't tell me about king snakes and garter snakes or black racers. Venom or no venom, I am giving any snake a wide birth - and if I see a copperhead in the woods, I am giving it as wide a berth as possible. If I see one in my yard or driveway - I am going to arrange a meeting between that creature and that creature's Creator with the business end of a hoe.

I am certainly not going to pick it up, because if I did that, it might bite me on my hand, causing my hand to swell up and causing big hunks of flesh to turn brown and fall right out - which is what happened to Moby.

But all is well that ends well. Moby is recovering from his wound and is back on the air and when I call in next Wednesday, I am sure he will be there to answer the phone.

And Jill? Well, I don't know about Jill, but the next time she's doing the show, I just might need to drive into the studio and do my spot live, 'cause sometimes you just have to say, What the Huck!

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.