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This Wonderful Life

September 24, 2009

This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there

The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.



I was phobic. It was a fear completely devoid of reason or logic.



The technical term for it is ophidiophobia. The lay term for it is buuuuuhhhhuuuuuuugh. Or maybe it’s aaaiiiiiieeeeeeeekkkk!!!!!! There are different levels of severity.



I avoided outdoor experiences because of the possibility that I might see a snake. Just see one. When the family went to zoos, I stayed outside while they toured the reptile exhibits.



Once, while riding in a car down the long strip of highway that runs the length of Pensacola Beach in Florida, we saw a rattle snake making its way across the sweltering asphalt. I screamed.



Let me repeat that: I was inside a car traveling some 55 miles per hour, and when I saw a snake on the street, I screamed and curled into a fetal position. Thank goodness I wasn’t behind the wheel.



So, a few weeks ago when I wrote about Serpentina, the snake who hangs out in the garden along our front path, it wasn’t just a reflection on my relationship to my surroundings. It was a reflection on my relationship to my internal landscape as well.



I no longer have a snake phobia, and that’s just one of about half a dozen irrational fears that no longer take precious time out of my days.



Flying in airplanes, needles, surgery, hospitals, driving on rainy roads, driving on snowy roads, driving on roads that may become rainy or snowy... Gone.



How my fears left me is complicated and boring. I survived cancer. I became intimate with a number of my phobias, and they became ordinary, everyday elements of my life.

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This Wonderful Life
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    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

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    November 5, 2009

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    October 8, 2009

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    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

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    September 10, 2009

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