Thank you, Ravic Doc Ringlaben, friend. I appreciate you sounding the snake alarm/warning before posting on Facebook. Your courteous announcement allowed me a quick escape and my morning did not get off to a snaky start as it so easily could’ve. . ‘Tis the season for folks all over the place to lose their minds long enough to take close photographs of and, God forbid, even pick up snakes of all shapes, sizes and abilities to inflict harm and fuel my nightmare at the same time. . So, I’ve drastically curtailed my social media browsing, I guess until the butt crack of winter or until people decide to stop the posting, whichever comes first. Decreasing time spent on social media is almost always a good thing and is for the best . I just wish it had come about some other way.
Now, when I do break down and visit my newsfeed, I have a protocol, if you will, set up and in place. Don’t be impressed, really, because it’s not that good; it’s just a feeble attempt to avoid a visual encounter with the creature that I know is out there –I don’t know when it’ll get me and in the same way I don’t know which of my friends will be the ones to step clean out of their right minds to hang around the scene of a serpent to take a candid shot of the thing and then thrust it right up into my field of vision without a warning. My method is as follows: I open the app and slowly, slowly creep and crawl down my newsfeed. As I approach an item of “news,” I do two things. 1. I start to consciously blur my vision as much as I can while still being potentially able to discern if a tidbit is safe to look at. And 2. as I’m doing that, I carefully reveal just a sliver at a time of the post. Little by little, I let myself peek until I’m satisfied that it’s not offensive. Definitely not accurate so it could still backfire on me. Oh, it’s insanity but it’s my insanity to deal with and I’m doing the best I can. You people are killing me.
It may not be rational but it’s my reality. I stepped on a big black snake a few weeks ago. I had ventured out to give my poultry friends some kitchen scraps and was almost skipping back across the small stretch of lawn with an empty bowl. I was about to go up three wooden deck steps and as I stepped down with my left flip-flopped foot, I felt the ground slide under it and I jumped off. I don’t know how I got back up in that house–I mean, I’m assuming I used my legs and motor skills to accomplish the task but I might have flown or even just stepped out on the same limb Shirley MacLaine used a few years ago or just walked right through a solid wall like magic. I only know that I was sore afraid and I had some serious fight or flight stuff going on in the most primitive part of my brain. I did make it back inside and promptly went and threw up.
Listen, I’m not a person saying I have a phobia of kittens or mosquitos or of rain. It’s a snake, for crying out loud…I happen to believe that my deep fear of snakes is one part genetic predisposition and the other part environmental conditioning. After all, back in the day–I mean waaaay back in the day–that fear of snakes was a useful thing to possess on account of the fact that fear makes a homosapien run fast and you wanna be “totin’ the mail” when you make the unfortunate mistake of bothering the creature–you wanna be aerodynamic, people. The environmental conditioning I received came in the form of a pond in our backyard growing up. Snakes were a part of existence. But one particular day truly made a lasting impression on my young gray matter. For the longest time I thought it was a nightmare that I just couldn’t forget but a recent conversation with my snake-loving, serpent-handling brother confirmed that it was a true story from the annals of terror. An unusually large water moccasin had been killed and was ceremoniously stretched out under the carport for our young eyes to behold. My large eyes just couldn’t take it all in, especially when the female snake began to open and close its jaws despite being super-dead. And adding horror to an already bad deal for yours truly, I received the news that this thing was very much in the family way with babies. I never recovered. The human brain is a sophisticated thing, able to store away and hang on to specific fears from long times past. It’s amazing and it sucks at the same time.
Lots of studies are being done by the best and brightest scientific minds and something interesting to note is the idea that turmeric, the spice featured in most curry powders is actually capable of preventing new fear memories from being protected and stored deep in the recesses of our brains. But the truly beautiful claim being made about turmeric is that it can actually REMOVE preexisting fear memories! What??? Listen, I can make this beautiful orange spice a daily part of my life if this is true. I will hurry and scurry to consume curry all day long if necessary! Science!