A truck driver is heading west across the Arizona desert. He's
driving all night and as the sun starts to
rise, he feels the need to
stop and commune with nature. He pulls to the
side of the road,
parks, and walks out into the sage brush.
As he is standing there looking around at the
beauty of the early
morn, he notices a lever sticking out of the
ground. After a few
moments he walks over, walks all the way
around, and then reaches out
to grasp the lever. As he does he hears a
voice say, "Don't touch
The driver jumps about two feet off the ground
and as he comes down,
he looks around. No one is to be seen.
Thinking it was just his
imagination he again reaches for the lever.
Again the voice yells, "I
said don't touch that lever!"
Being more prepared, the driver senses the
location of the voice and
looks down under a sage
brush. There he sees a small snake.
The driver, in much astonishment, said,
"Was that you that spoke?"
The snake said, "Yes. I have to keep
people from touching that lever.
If the lever is moved it will be the end of
The driver, still rather astonished, said,
"What is your name? And
will you talk on TV?" The snake said his
name was Nathan, his friends
called him Nate, and that he wasn't interested
in going on TV. Anyway
he had to stay and watch the lever to see that
it wasn't moved.
The driver said, "Look, I will get the
networks to send out camera
crews. That way you can inform the
entire world about the danger of
Nate thought that over and allowed as how
there was a great deal of
sense in that idea. The driver, true to his
word, got the
network camera crews out. They put on
broadcasts in which Nate warned
the entire world of the dangers of moving the
A few weeks later another truck driver was
passing through the area.
He was following an oil tanker and the tanker
leak. When the truck behind hit the
oil slick it went out of
control, and the driver found himself headed
straight for the lever.
He remembered seeing Nate on TV warning about
the lever. He knew that
if he hit it he would cause the world to end.
strove with all his might to maneuver the
truck. Finally, at the
last possible moment, he was able to swerve
away from the lever but
he ran over Nate and killed him.
The truck driver was elated at missing the
lever but sad that he
killed Nate. He dug a grave for the dead snake
and performed a solemn
burial. Then he erected a wooden tomb stone
and pondered what epitaph
to write. Then it came to him: "Better
Nate than lever."