Plein de Snakes

The notorious "Sciences Snake"

By Audrey Everist

The International Academy for Animals Big and Small has recently announced the addition of a new family to the squamata order: the Sciences Snake. Native to southern France, Sciences Snakes are often disarmingly charming (especially if you have significant credentials), and consequently were listed just last week as an invasive species on LinkedIn. Not to worry–to help you stay safe we’ve compiled a list of four of the most vicious vipers:

Your friend moans: “I still haven’t started [studying/writing my paper/making my presentation]”. Three weeks later (or months!), you get your grades back and that same slitherer is top of the class. What happened? It’s very likely your friend is actually a Fanged Faceworker (other tip-offs could include scales and/or a forked tongue).

The most common species of Sciences Snake, the Fanged Faceworker is a Kingsnake subspecies named for the sociological phenomenon described by Erving Goffman, academic facework, wherein students purposefully mislead others into thinking that they’ve done less work or studied less than they actually have. This wily defense mechanism serves three purposes: the first is to bring down its adversaries by communicating to them a falsely lax norm and thus encouraging them to underperform. The second two work to allow a Fanged Faceworker to fortify itself against failure by offering either an excuse for academic underperformance on an assignment or an extra social status bonus to academic success (“Yeah, I worked for like 30 seconds on my 25 page paper. I, like, literally don’t even know what I wrote about because I didn’t even read it. Actually I can’t even read. I’m going to fail the exam. What’d I get on the paper? Oh yeah, like, a 19.”) Procrastination or faux-crastination? Sssss.

With a taste for Netflix, the Cop-out Cobra is a more harmless but equally irritating snake. It deceives others by indicating an initial willingness to participate in an activity (like rat hunting), then backing out at the last moment. Watch out: if you hear a Cop-out Cobra say “See you tonight,” it’s the equivalent of the shake-shake-shake of a rattlesnake’s tail. Fight, flight or…flake?

Procrastination or faux-crastination? Sssss.

Picture it. You’re in the student space and someone just complimented you on your new scale trim — now he’s giggling with his friends and pointing in your direction. There’s either a joke written on the wall behind you or he’s an Underhanded Anaconda. Averaging 17 feet long and weighing in at 215 lbs, Underhanded Anacondas are some of the sassiest Sciences Snakes to slither the earth’s surface. They construct a new face each time they molt, a process that takes place approximately 1,000 times daily, meaning that what they say to you is all but guaranteed to differ from what they’re saying to the person to your left. Take whatever compliment they give you with a 1-ton block of salt, and be careful what you say in return: the Underhanded Anaconda lives for gosssssssip.

The class is hardly over and you notice someone slithering up to the front of the classroom? It’s probably a Professor-petting Python. Although occasionally confused with the Straight-Up Nerd, this species of snake raises its theoretical hand all too often, and after ten minutes of “I-have-a-question”-no-actually-I-just-want-to-say-something-and-prove-I’m-smart-ing leaves you wondering if you’ve actually died and made it to purgatory’s waiting room. Other common practices include spamming you, your mom and all of the local McDonald’s employees with LinkedIn requests and quoting all three of your professor’s books in presentations while gazing deeply into the (now very uncomfortable) professor’s eyes.

Scared? Don’t be. Scientists expect this reptilian infestation of the French Riviera to wane around mid-May, at which point other areas around the world, including the US, Turkey, Egypt and the UK, are expected to be hit hardest.


Photo source: Pixabay. Creative Commons, Public Domain. Photo edited.

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