Happy National Serpent Day!
I confess that I hate snakes. I do… I really hate snakes. However, I’ve adopted an “I’ll leave them alone if they leave me alone” philosophy. I mean, yes, I know they’re one of God’s creatures – and I get that they do a whole lot of good… but come the heck on. They’re cold and slimy… Well, maybe not slimy. And they’re actually not that cold, either… lol. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where my hatred of snakes comes from – but I come by it honestly…
One of my earliest memories of snakes is from when I was living in Ohio as a kid. One day while playing in the backyard, for some reason I decided to collect twigs… Cuz you do stuff like collect twigs when you grow up in an era without the internet and video games… Anyhoo, I scoured the backyard for suitable options. But then because I’m so danged easily distracted (Squirrel!), I see my swing set standing there smack dab in the middle of the yard looking all alone and forlorn cuz no one was playing on it. So I decided to swing. However, instead of putting down the twigs I had collected before getting on the swing, I continued to clutch them in my hands as I also tried to hold onto the chains of the swing. I guess I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the lamp… lol. I was merrily swinging my heart out when I suddenly spotted the most perfect twig ever!
I quickly jumped off the swing and ran over to where I saw the twig. I reached down and excitedly picked it up… However, the perfect twig somehow twisted and morphed into a snake before my very eyes! Ack! I instantly dropped the snake along with all of the other twigs in my hands and raced as fast as I could back to the safety of my house. I was shaking and blubbering all the way.
I guess, to be honest, the “perfect twig” might have always been a snake… But it was either a magical snake that could quickly turn from a twig into a snake the exact moment it was touched by an unsuspecting, innocent twig gatherer… or else it was a snake in twig clothing. I dunno for sure… but it wasn’t long after that when I got my first pair of glasses. Just remembering that day sends shivers up and down my spine.
I also remember visiting my aunt and uncle in Tucson, Arizona and my Mom being really concerned about the prevalence of rattle snakes. She taught me how to spot a sidewinder’s tracks in the desert sand and she impressed upon me the importance of always being hyper vigilant whenever I was walking outside. It all just really terrified me. The fact that my aunt and uncle frequently found rattlers at the bottom of their swimming pool scared the daylights outta me, too. I don’t like snakes.
Did I mention my brother threw gardener snakes at me when we were growing up? In my mind, it was a daily occurrence, but it likely only happened a couple of times. Otherwise, I would have had to kill him. He loves snakes… Yuck.
I remember several teachers having snakes in their classrooms as learning opportunities for us. Ugh. One teacher made me wear the class’s pet boa constrictor once. They gently put the snake around the back of my neck and over my shoulders. I about died.
Now that I think about it – that was kinda messed up. I mean who puts a boa CONSTRICTOR around someone’s neck… Especially when they’re so askeered of them?
My brother’s love of snakes continued throughout his life. He is 4 ½ years older than me (Yes, that ½ is very, very important!). I remember he had a Burmese Python (I think that’s what it was) that he kept in his bedroom. He also had been gathering unique beer cans from our various vacations around the country. He artistically arranged the beer can collection into pyramids and rows on the shelves and tables in his room.
I remember when I first realized that he let his pet python freely slither around his room while he was gone. I was sitting on my bed when I started to hear beer cans falling to the floor one by one. I knew he wasn’t home at the time and I completely freaked out. OMG OMG OMG… Later, I asked him about it and he explained that the snake needed to be able to roam freely. I’m sure I must have tenderly suggested that he let it “roam freely” outside. I’m sure the snake had a name but it’s refusing to come back into my memory at this time. I musta blocked it.
My snake aversion might have also come from the time we went fishing in Canada. The boat we were going to fish in was turned face down on the shore. As my Dad and his brother turned the boat over, they found a ginormous snake in it. I mean it was likely 48 feet long or something… Not really THAT long, but you know how much bigger everything seems when you’re a kid. I honestly don’t even remember what kind of snake it was. People started to scream… Well, at least I know I started to scream. Everyone was really rattled by it…(Pun intended, but I’m sure it wasn’t a rattler…lol). I don’t remember what happened to the snake. I’ve blocked that from my memory, too.
Or perhaps my intense dislike of snakes came from one of my first nights in my college dorm room. Each dorm suite had 2 dorm rooms that housed 2 people each dissected in the middle by a shared kitchen and bathroom. One night during my first week in the dorm, I was awoken at like 4:00 AM by a male voice coming from the kitchen saying, “Do you think we should wake up your roommates and tell them?” Groggily, I tried to figure out why there would be a male voice in the all-girl dorm at that hour… Then I hear my suitemate let out a scream from the other bedroom.
Suddenly, I was wide awake and busy waking up my roommate. I inquired of the male voice, “Tell us what?” The male voice said, “I don’t want to alarm you guys, but there’s a snake loose somewhere in this suite and we don’t know where it is – and it may be poisonous.” My other suitemate was standing on her bed, and from her strategic vantage point she screamed and pointed, “There it is!” The male voice asked for a broom. He and his freshman friend were trying to impress my suitemates with their heroic bravery. He started to poke at the snake that was hiding behind the bed next to the wall. Instinctively I knew poking at a snake was not smart… So I quickly left the room to go to find an upperclassman I knew who could handle the situation.
Bobby sleepily answered my frantic knocks on his door in his pj’s and after putting on a baseball cap, he sleepwalked behind me back to our room. We opened the door and everyone was still hopping around on the beds screaming (including the two freshmen guys)… And I was just sure we were all gonna die. After assessing the situation, Bobby asked me for a pillowcase and an oven mitt. He moved the bed away from the wall, reached over the side of the bed, put the snake inside of the pillowcase, walked out of the door with snake in hand, and said, “Goodnight, ladies.” I kid you not… true story. Lol.
So yeah, I have a few snake issues.
In fairness, I used to watch Crocodile Hunter because I knew he could teach me how to appreciate snakes for the amazing creatures they are. Don’t get me wrong… I still hate snakes. But maybe I don’t hate them quite as much as I did before… lol.
I will say that I would much rather deal with a reptile any day of the week than the kind of snakes that are on the Real Housewives shows… Which gives me an idea for another post… lol…