During my college days in upstate New York, I was taking an independent study with an Art professor and one day on the way to class, our paths converged. It was late, and he recommended we save time by cutting through a building that housed the campus Herpetarium. “Oh look,” he mentioned as we passed one large aquarium, “Here’s a rat snake.” He pulled the heavy creature out of the tank and wrapped it around my neck. I’ve never taken drugs before, but I knew then what it was like to have an out-of-body experience. When I spoke, it was in a voice that I did not recognize as my own. “Get it off me.” He told me that rat snakes are favored by snake dancers because this kind of reptile likes the warmth of a human body. I was going to ask him if he’d like the warmth of my clenched fist on his chin, but couldn’t mouth the words. Later on I read that rat snakes hate being handled and can do some damage if you pick them up. After all this he had the gall to give me a C+ for my independent study.