Since I became an author and college speaker, newspapers and magazines have published countless stories about my books and college shows, and that doesn’t include opinion pieces and articles I’ve written myself for those publications. I used to save physical copies of all those newspapers and magazines for posterity or something to read in my old age. Then, when I realized that I had a whole trunk full of publications that I’d never actually look at again, I stopped saving everything. Besides, I had digital copies of the best pieces.

That brings me to today—snake feeding day. On snake feeding day, I thaw out frozen hamsters for my three rainbow boas. For safety and sanitation, I never feed my snakes in their terrariums. Instead, I feed them in a large plastic feeding box, which I line with newspapers. Even though I buy the hamsters pre-frozen, feeding time can be a bit messy. That’s because when I thaw the rodents in warm water, their stomachs will occasionally bloat and then burst when a snake goes through the motions of constricting and killing its already dead prey.

Consequently I feed the snakes one at a time, and put a fresh layer of newspaper on the bottom, so the next snake in-line starts out clean. Today, after feeding the first snake, I put down a second layer of newspapers only to realize that looking up at me was the Bitterroot Star with my picture on the front page.

Nope! I may be able to recycle magazines and newspapers that feature my photo, but I’ll be damned if exploding hamster guts are going to splatter on my face!

I pulled out the newspaper and replaced it with another.