Dear Dr. Boli: Why doesn’t Ireland have snakes? I mean, I know the story about St. Patrick, but come on. —Sincerely, An Inexpressibly Bored Professor of Herpetology at the University of Dublin.

Dear Sir or Madam: Centuries of British domination deprived the Irish of many of the luxuries of life. Until recently, Ireland was simply too poor to afford a decent snake population. In recent years, periods of prosperity have largely eliminated the former poverty of the Irish nation, but successive short-sighted governments have seen fit to spend their money on fripperies like health care and transport, rather than on things of clear benefit to the population at large, such as an adequate supply of snakes. Whether anything can be done about the problem depends on you, the voters. Write to your representative in the Dáil and say that your vote in the next election will depend on whether the herpetological inadequacies of the Irish Republic have been addressed with prompt effectiveness by the current government.