I’ve got to get a grip on myself. In a moment of boldness I have allowed my son to get a corn snake. We have planned this carefully, done all the research, even devoted a corner of the freezer to dead mice of varying sizes and horrific names (pinkies, fuzzies). Logically, I know it’s ok for this creature to be in the house, but somehow a legless reptile in the house, safely behind glass as he is, gives me the raging heeby-jeebies. It takes nearly all my self control to stop me dashing from the room when the snake moves near me, nearly as much as it takes me not to pinch the remnants of the childrens’ Easter eggs. I am trying to be brave about all this for the boy, who is inexperienced with snakes and could use some adult general confidence to help him get started. Fortunately his dad is remarkably sanguine about the whole thing (mercifully keeping quiet about my daft indulgences vis-a-vis the children and pets), and is turning into a more reliable snake handler than I am. At least he cleaned up when the snake shat on our bed.
Meanwhile, the snake and I eye one another warily whenever I peer into the vivarium. From my point of view, he appears to have all the aces up his sleeve – reptilian cunning, great skin, sinuous movement and prejudice against him. I suppose he’s not thinking much, with a brain possibly the size of a petit-pois, other than that I am big and potentially threatening. Rationalizing it all is not helping me much at the moment.
And now to the point of all this: getting a grip. The nice reptile rescuer who matched us with our snake explained that when handling the snake, we shouldn’t grip hard but support gently. Experience tells me that the more I practice a thing, the better I get at it, supporting myself. Fear is sometimes rational, but more often is the hanging on to a prior notion, and can be worn down by familiarity, repetition and laughter. So, having committed to this thing, I’d better stick at it, and be glad that so far the snake hasn’t headed off to dine on my daughter’s cute new gerbils.