The Zoey Blog: Snakes and Toddlers...and Whimpering Dads FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Monday, August 8, 2011

Snakes and Toddlers...and Whimpering Dads

Snakes suck, or so I always told myself, until yesterday. Snakes don't suck. They're actually pretty cool. Cool enough that we picked them up and played with 'em. Zed slung one around her neck. I manhandled a few. No one panicked. No one died, or lost an eye. They weren't slimy, not even close. They weren't fast or sneaky, in fact, every single move they made was quite deliberate, and they took their time doing it. They were nothing like what I had thought. Thanks to the traveling reptile show from Laurentian University that made a stop at our local library, and thanks to the demands placed on you by a super inquisitive toddler, I know a lot more about them, and I'm more comfortable than ever. Well, maybe not ever. I'm not lining up with all the neighborhood kids to compare our ectothermal friends anytime soon, but I'm good. I'm cool now.

Zoey surprised me, and perhaps more astonishingly, I surprised myself. I really surprised myself. I used to play with snakes. When I was a boy we would collect garter snakes and race them in abandoned eave troughs behind the garage. I remember waiting for my turn with my little green prodigy writhing around my hand and forearm. It didn't bother me one bit back then, but then somehow I was conditioned to freak out a little every time I saw one...every time. I don't recall how or why that happened, it just did, and for the last million years I've loathed them. No more. Nope, I'm alright now.

We watched the show, learned as much as you can with a wiggling, eager to get moving toddler sitting in one of those flip-up movie seat/death traps for the under 40lb set, and waited in a rather hectic line...well, sorta line, for our chance to touch a snake. I had no idea that ten minutes later we'd be wearing snakes like leis around our necks, or that other kids would trip out while both Zed and I earned our medals of honor for the year. It was incredible. When it was all over with and our hands were still feeling the strange sensation of having collapsed around writhing instruments of fear and scaly weirdness, we texted Mom and she flipped!

"What!?" She typed back. "You guys did what!? That's unbelievable! No way."

"Yep," I thumbed back, "we did. We're cool."

"I need to hear more."

So later that night we filled her in on how she's got a couple of cool and calm snake wranglers living right here in her house. That's not to say that either of us, well me, is eager to track down and commune with the giant Easter Fox snake in Baachan and Grandad's backyard, but right now we're good with what we've been exposed to. Zoey has yet to associate fear with snakes, and I've suddenly challenged and overcame my own irrational fears, all in one quiet but exciting afternoon at Camp Zed. Wow, what a toddler can make a grown man whimpering, only wide grins.


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