Is anyone else troubled by this? Significant resources are being deployed to create a model of the biggest snake ever to walk the earth. A prehistoric, dinosaurish-sized snake. 45 feet. 3,000 pounds. And then this, this … monstrosity is going ON TOUR around the country, terrorizing (ostensibly educating) unsuspecting people. I’m on my knees, praying to the snake gods that my city will be spared a spot on this freak show circuit. You see, I have a snake phobia. Totally batshit-crazy, incapacitating, I’m-gonna-die-if-I-see-a-snake phobia. I feel faint when I look at photos of snakes or see them in zoos. But — and this is the exceptionally twisted part — I also have a sicko compulsion to view snakes, from a safe distance, and learn incredibly detailed information about them. (So I know where I stand on the food chain, to quote my brother-in-law. In his case about sharks, but whatever…)
I get very irritable when people talk down to me about snakes, like I don’t know that they aren’t ‘slimy’ or am unaware that some snakes give birth to live young or that true sea snakes, which have special sea-water filtering glands, don’t come ashore to lay their eggs etc. I know my damned snakes! This is a photo I took in India a couple years ago of my son idiotically peering into a rock python lair:
And looky here:
And this is my personal favorite. Do look carefully; it’s a real treat:
I like to joke about my snake issues but I’m actually beginning to think I could use some help. Mostly, if you have a phobia, I think you can just develop some handy work-arounds. You know, like driving a little out of the way (or maybe quite a bit out of the way) to avoid, say, the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. I mean, just as an example, of course.
But the problem is that I actually love to walk in the woods and visit snakephilic countries. It’s true that I am in the process of buying a house in the least-snakey state in the country but, still, there’s a good chance I will step on one once in a while, or find one rooting around in my wood pile. Or maybe I’ll just have another of those dreams that my house is sited on top of a snake hibernacula like this poor hapless Job-like family from Idaho, who REALLY should have known better when their drinking water turned brown and started smelling like… snake “musk” (and I bet you’ve never heard of that before!):
I still break out in metaphorical hives recalling a National Geographic photo (it must have been in the early 70s) which featured a 20-foot reticulated python swimming next to a pretty blonde lady. It was one of those half-underwater shots; I threw up, figuratively, hundreds of times looking at that photo.
Shall I go on or have you had enough? Really, I’m just wondering if you think I should seek “treatment” for my problem. I’m asking because my friend, who is a well-known psychologist, also had a snake phobia. Past tense. And his phobia was cured — I mean, for real: cured; he was photographed smiling with an 8-foot python around his neck — in about an hour. He swears it took an hour. He also tells me that phobias are … drumroll… the only 100 percent curable mental health problem. Even allowing for me being way crazier than my friend, and being a slow learner and all… it seems like maybe I could be cured in a day or so. Maybe a weekend, max. Apparently the key predictor of success is having sufficient motivation. If I’m motivated enough, I can be 100 percent guaranteed snake phobia-free. But that seems like a pretty big variable to have under control before committing to the therapy, no? Should I go for it? Get motivated? Advice welcome.