I have always had one thing in common with Indiana Jones: my fear of snakes. It is a genuine phobia that has some long name. Of course it’s a l-o-n-g name. Ophidiophobia. O. It makes me think of a python and how they can squeeze someone to death. I have successfully avoided being in the presence of a snake for at least 12 years, since I moved to Ohio from Michigan. And I can still tell you every single snake-sighting I had in Michigan; I still dream about them.
Sometimes when I’ve been walking through taller grass or woods, I’ll tell the person I’m with: By the way, I’m like…really afraid of snakes. They usually say, Ohhh…they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a “tiny garter snake”
Doesn’t even matter if it’s RUBBER.
In 13 weeks I am moving to Melbourne Beach, Florida. According to Google: there are more snakes in Florida than in any other state.
I’m devising a plan to face my fear…slowly. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to face it up close and forked-tongue personal. But at least I need to get to the point where seeing a snake does not make me faint, shake, sob, or render me unable to move.
Experts have written about how to conquer this fear.
Step 1. Acknowledge it. CHECK.
Step 2: Read about them: find out all the “good things” about snakes. That doesn’t seem too difficult.
Step 3: Go to a pet store or zoo and get some compassionate soul to help desensitize me to snakes. Ok. Ok. Not there yet.
Step 4: Hold a snake.
Oh please. Typing Step 4 made the bile rise in my throat.
The experts say: start small.
The experts say: this will work.
The experts say: start with a little garter snake.
Screw the experts. I’m starting with a stuffed one… the kind you win at a carnival. And I’m gonna practice wrestling that baby to the ground. Just in case, when I move to Florida, the first one I meet is: