Snakes in the House!

I feel safer now. After six days of searching, the Bronx Zoo staff found the escapee, a deadly Egyptian Cobra, less than 100 feet away from its cage home.

That seems to me to take not paying attention to a new level—or low level, depending how you want to view the event. What were they thinking? To allow a potentially lethal weapon to escape unnoticed. Wow!  How about a training course in "Don't take your eyes off the snake when its door is open," or "Keys to giving attention to deadly snakes." 

But this incident (not tragedy, thankfully) demonstrates how we are often oblivious even to dangerous objects. We don't pay attention; we don't seem to focus; we overlook the obvious, as I stress in my after-dinner speech,  "Be Present When You Are Present."  

According to James Gleick in his book Faster, we spend sixteen minutes a day (roughly one year of our lives) looking for lost possessions. The old hymn by William Augustine Ogden, “Seeking the Lost,” takes on new meaning in today's fast-paced multi-tasking world. I would rather spend my time looking for lost souls than looking for lost cobras.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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