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Simon Donovan's Rattlesnake Bridge, stretching over Broadway Boulevard just west of Euclid Avenue and just east of Aviation Parkway, hasn't even been open for 3 1/2 years (it opened in May 2002). This tidbit makes it all the more impressive that the bridge is being honored this week by our readers as the Best Public Art for the third year in a row (see Best of TucsonTM page 8). While the $2.3 million bridge has gotten oodles of attention and accolades since it was born, nobody (that we know of) has been off of their medication long enough to actually ask the snake what it thinks about things. That is, until now.

I am not supposed to tell you this until the issue hits the streets, but what the hell ... congratulations! You've won Best Public Art again. Congrats.

Eh. Whatever.

Whatever? Aren't you thrilled?

Well, yes, it's nice, but let's face facts: It sucks being me.

How so?

Well, for one thing, here I am, the biggest, baddest rattlesnake in all the land, and nobody's afraid of me. Nobody. People, dogs, rodents--they walk all over me. Even cats. Cats!

Well, um, you are a bridge. That's kind of the point.

And about this bridge thing: I am unnaturally straight! Have you ever seen a healthy, vital snake without any curves in it? I am completely without slither.

Given the conservative political climate these days, it may not be so bad to be "unnaturally straight" (snicker).

Great. Here I am, a cold-blooded bridge, baking in the hot Tucson sun, and you're making sexual-orientation jokes. I'd bite you if my mouth weren't welded open.

I am just trying to inject some levity into the conversation here. After all, you've won this honor every full year that you've been alive. That's worth some enthusiasm, right? You're beloved!

Don't get me wrong; I'm honored. But it's not like I am universally beloved. All the public-art opponents were pissed that I cost $2.3 million. People say I am a bridge to nowhere. These criticisms really chap my hide. It's not like I can help where I was put, or how much I cost. Humans can't help how or where they were born; neither can massive, street-crossing metal snakes.

Good point.

And as for the argument that I don't go anywhere ... that's not true. I allow the Aviation Parkway bike path to continue across Broadway. And that's something, seeing how much gas costs these days. Plus, there's a delightful park over here to the north. So, I don't understand where these critics are coming from. They can bite me.

Heh. Usually when snakes and bites are involved, it's the other way around.

(Sigh. ) Do you really think you're funny?

Sorry.

Speaking of people biting snakes: People do eat rattlesnakes, you know. And you know what they say we taste like? Chicken. Chicken! I mean, how insulting is that?

I dunno. I like chicken.

Yeah, and I bet you'd like eating rattlesnake, too, you damn carnivore.

Um ... actually, I have.

WHAT?

Now, calm down. I am not the only one who's eaten rattlesnake before; some snakes have been known to eat other snakes, too. And besides, I only tried rattlesnake once, so don't go throwing stones.

Throw stones? How could I throw stones? I have no damn arms! Are you blind?

OK, my bad. I am sorry. Let's calm down here.

OK, just answer one question for me: Truthfully, what did the snake taste like?

Honestly? Well, um ... it really does kinda taste like chicken, only a little oilier.

How appalling. "Chicken but oilier." That's it. This interview is over.

Hey, I didn't mean to offend. Sorry. In any case, congratulations again on your Best of Tucson™ award. That's awesome, and you deserve it.

Thanks. It just goes to show that your readers are much, much smarter than you are.

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