A group of soldiers being prepared for a practice landing on a tropical
island were warned of the one danger the island held, a poisonous snake that
could be readily identified by its alternating orange and black bands. They
were instructed, should they find one of these snakes, to grab the tail end of
the snake with one hand and slide the other hand up the body of the snake to
the snake's head. Then, forcefully, bend the thumb above the snake's head
downward to break the snake's spine. All went well for the landing, the
charge up the beach, and the move into the jungle. At one foxhole site, two
men were starting to dig and wondering what had happened to their partner.
Suddenly he staggered out of the underbrush, uniform in shreds, covered with
blood. He collapsed to the ground. His buddies were so shocked they could
only blurt out, "What happened?"
"I ran from the beachhead to the edge of the jungle, and, as I hit the
ground, I saw an orange and black striped snake right in front of me. I
grabbed its tail end with my left hand. I placed my right hand above my left
hand. I held firmly with my left hand and slid my right hand up the body of
the snake. When I reached the head of the snake I flicked my right thumb down
to break the snake's spine... did you ever goose a tiger?"
I know you think you thought you knew what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you understood what you thought I meant.