“A snake deserves no pity”- Yiddish Proverb
Since the theme this week has been memory, I’ll close with some safety mnemonics.
Green Beret Myke Hawke offers a handy mnemonic for remembering which berries are safe to eat in the wild:
White and yellow, kill a fellow.
Purple and blue, good for you.
Red... could be good, could be dead.
If red berries are growing in little clusters, they're probably not good. If they're growing in little singletons, they probably are good.
First Aid books teach ABCD for responding to someone not breathing:
A = Tilt the head back to open the Airway
B = Check for Breathing
C = Check for Circulation (a pulse or heartbeat). Begin CPR if needed.
D = Use a Deliberator if no pulse
When sailing at night you'll see red lights and green lights but which is port and which is starboard, which is left and which is right?
I think of red as a port wine.
I link port with left because both are spelled with 4 letters.
The following mnemonic identifies the poisonous coral snake of North America from similar looking snakes. I’ve called it to mind a few times when seeing a black snake with color bands (see Bottom Line below):
Red on Yellow Kills a Fellow,
Red on Black, Venom Lack
The danger of a mnemonic is remembering it wrong! When looking for a picture of a coral snake with Google images I kept seeing yellow bands on black. This did not match my memory:
Yellow on black – poison lack [WRONG!]
Black on white – poison in sight
In preparing for this blog I’ve learned that I’ve been completely wrong all my life about which snake was safe and which was deadly. Good thing I never tried to pick one up! Yellow and white on black are both signs of danger. It can be hard to distinguish yellow from white so treat both as deadly.
Another person had a similar experience - this is from a comment on LifeHacker.com
Speaking of mnemonics, when I was about 11, my Dad and his buddies called me outside and showed me this pretty snake. "Catch it, Ali!" they said. "Look, the yellow and the black bands are together-yellow and black, friend of Jack!" I chased the snake around for a minute before looking up and saying, "Ummm....Dad-the red and black bands are next to each other, too!" Yeah, my Dad had me chasing around a coral snake!