I don't have an overarching morality tale for this one, just a series of snake-related anecdotes of varying terrifying degrees:
1. I have been terrified of snakes ever since I saw Rikki Tikki Tavi and spent several nights wide awake, keenly aware of the nest of cobras under my bed.
2. There was a movie called "Ssssss" that had a scene where a woman was in her bathtub and the drain thing popped off and a bunch of snakes slithered into her bathtub. Not since Janet Leigh took a shower at the Bates Motel has there been such a frightening bathtub-related psychological trauma. I don't take a bath or a shower: I just rub an ice cube around.
3. My mom won't even say the word "snake." She says "you-know-what." "Your father killed a you-know-what in the side yard today." "Your father ran over a you-know-what on our camping trip. Wouldn't it be funny if "you-know-what" turned out to be something other than snakes? Like Belgian people, maybe? And my father was some sort of person who had a problem with Belgians? Ha ha, yes, that would be funny.
4. I went on a series of hikes in lovely parks around the state and on every hike, I saw a snake. In every instance but one, the snake was coming across the trail from the right to the left. So now I basically hike sideways, facing the right.
5. I have a friend who defends snakes and says they eat fifty pounds of mosquitoes a day or ten mice or something. I stop paying attention when I hear "snake" and just run in the opposite direction in general. Plus, he is clearly lying, in that way people who say "oh, this habanero won't burn!" and "oh, I'm sure there are no rusty, tetanus-loaded car bodies just beneath the surface of this brown quarry water!" are always lying.
6. I was planning a trip to the lovely, dark and swampy Congaree National Park. Then I ran across an FAQ for it and the first question on the list was "what are those snakes that keep falling from the trees into the boat?" Now I am going to Mammoth Cave.