Pit Vipers are venomous snakes found in the hot climates in the deep south. Or if you prefer its more well known cousin the rattle snake, copperheads or diamond backs.
Its lesser known cousins are larger in size, but with a major difference. They won't kill you.
They will, however kill your career.
I am of course speaking of the sycophants in the business world where the weapon of choice is the pen or in modern times the omnipotent email.
Where pit vipers tend to play fairly by announcing themselves with the ever so ominous rattle of its tail. Its larger cousin will often times neither announce nor advertise they are dangerous. They will instead announce themselves to others with the aforementioned email system.
And when they do strike it will not be direct nor will it leave marks on your person letting you know you have been bitten.
The strike will come in the form of a largely innocuous, well thought out correspondence to someone who looms above you. Who for all intense and purposes controls your means of financial support and well being.
I am of course talking about the boss who is the recipient and some disgruntled small minded individual who feels has been wronged, slighted, embarrassed, insulted or for lack of a better term is just a dick, is the sponsor of the omnipotent email.
Gone are the days when a disagreement was settled face to face. Gone are the days when slights or insults were handled in a manner that inflicted neither harm nor long term damage to either party.
Instead, we now have a society that is built on the long arm of and impersonal social media or the aforementioned email system.
Today it is not the days of the pen being mightier than the sword. Today its the keyboard and computer screen that is the mightiest of them all.
Schoolyard angst and fisticuffs on the playground have now been replaced by on-line bullying. And for the record I have come to loath the word bully. I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around someone being tormented by Facebook posts or tweets.
Yesterday people took responsibility for their actions and owned up to their misdeeds. Today we have support groups for everyone who has ever had their feelings hurt. We encourage and support those who cry foul and seek pity and sympathy for their hurt feelings. And for the inflictee of said harm there is a rehab or psychotherapy in your very near future.
And while I'm at it, let me share this. I have a theory about words.
It goes like this: words have no weight or value. They are neither sharp nor blunt. The damage they inflict are only as severe as you allow them to be. If you place no weight or value, then they lose their destructive force.
In the world of social media, words are now inflicting more harm than ever before. The wrong phrase can short circuit your career to the ground faster than lightning can find its natural earthen ground.
Viral videos have become a plague. On a slow news day a YouTube video will get more coverage than what by most peoples standards is considered real news and reality TV has dumbed down our society to the point Honey Boo Boo is considered a star.
Freedom of speech is now longer free. It costs and in some cases it bankrupts. So while guns and religion are the items we argue over. Speech has never fought for but rather against.
I wonder if today those brilliant men who forged our nation ever envisioned a day when the very first thing that is a guaranteed right has been reduced to the most horrible of terms of being POLITICALLY CORRECT.
It's sad really the phrase they used which was beautiful, lyrical and musical to the ear is no longer any of those things.
I love words and all that can be done with them. Too bad they can only be used in a manner that is the least offensive to the smallest audience.
So remember for your own sake, when you are dealing with pit vipers handle them with care.