Home > Uncategorized > Warn Me If You’re Going to Show Me a Snake, Damnit

Warn Me If You’re Going to Show Me a Snake, Damnit

The only snake I could ever stomach. Cobra LALALALALALA

Sometimes I’ll sit back and dream about the type of absurd rules and regulations I would make up if I were somehow to conquer the world and name myself its Emperor.

One of these would require all blogs and websites to have a warning before showing a picture of a snake.

I suffer from (among other things) Ophidiophobia, which is a fear of snakes. It’s a fear that I’ve carried with me for as long as I can remember. It’s gotten better in recent years, but only to the extent that I only feel super weird and scared and uncomfortable when I see them on television, rather than covering my eyes and turning away.

I remember the first time I saw a snake in person. It was in the “big field”: a large patch of grass between two buildings in our apartment complex. It had a sad excuse for a playground in the center that included, amongst other things, a big metal frame of what looked like a wagon that my brother was famous for having painted red (on instructions from the Housing Authority – Momma Marshall didn’t raise no vandals).

I must have mentioned or expressed my dislike of snakes to my father, because he carried me in his arms outside to show me what he had found in the field. It was a tiny little garter snake, no more than three inches long, that appeared to have been run over by someone’s bicycle. He wanted to show me that there was nothing to be afraid of; his line of reasoning being that if I saw how potentially harmless they could be, I wouldn’t have as strong an adverse reaction when I came across them.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I remember freaking out and my father immediately taking me back inside the house.

I encountered my second real-life snake years later. I was in 4th grade, which Mr. Germano’s combined 4th and 5th grade class (the two grades were combined for that one classroom most likely due to budget constraints though I like to think it was because we were all so mature and special). My best friend at the time, John Stopera, found a snake in our classroom. I faked having to go to the bathroom to avoid the scene, lest everyone come to know my secret paralyzing fear of these harmless little creatures.

John, bless his heart, REALLY wanted to show me the snake that he caught, so he followed me out to the bathroom and brought the snake with him inside of an old coffee can. Lucky for me I had just emptied my bowels. I couldn’t even look at the snake, and I remember John being aghast and not understanding what the big deal was. He was a smart kid, though, and as soon as it dawned on him he brought it back out. I remember going back into the classroom and fessing up to my fear. Which, surprisingly, did not bring any scorn or ridicule from my classmates.

Still, it did not bring any peace or solace, nor did it improve my relationship with snakes. We still seemed destined to be separated by a wide gap; that gap being the one created when I see a snake and jump out of my shoes and start running in the opposite direction.

I never knew where the fear came from, but a recent study may indicate the source: evolution. Psychologists in Stockholm theorize that in our earliest days, humans developed a predisposition towards fear of venomous creatures such as snakes and spiders as a means of preservation (i.e. not getting bit and dying from the venom).

In other words, I’m broken. Whereas the rest of you have learned how to override this primal fear with things like logic and sense over the course of the last 200,000 years, I still remain spooked by snakes.

So much so that just today, I was going through my Google Reader and a blog post referencing snakes used a picture of a big green one as the header image. I frantically pressed “NEXT” to get as far away from the page as possible while cursing the blog’s authors for not accommodating my fear  by giving me some sort of warning or putting that goddamn thing behind a cut.

The notion, of course, is ridiculous. Which is why I, the least evolved of our species, need to do what I can to overtake you higher beings and trample you all under my feet.

Don’t tread on me, indeed.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. stellabird
    November 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I can’t handle images of spiders. Can’t even touch them — have employed creative page-turning skills a few times.

  2. November 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I totally thought you were talking about a different kind of snake…

    • LB
      November 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      That’s a “trouser snake.”

      • November 24, 2010 at 5:52 pm

        THAT’S WHAT SHE S–oh forget it.

  3. LB
    November 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm

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