Words from Dic(tionary)
by J. R. Practix
I just think it’s rather weird.
I am pretty sure that we are taught–or maybe a stalwart portion of our culture is instructed–that most people are deathly afraid of snakes. Even folks who will pick up a cockroach or fiddle around with a praying mantis will usually shirk at the possibility of handling an adder.
Don’t you think that’s curious? I suppose if there was a nine-month-old baby crawling along, the little tyke might go over and try to pull on the tail of the reptile, but I’m not quite positive THAT’S true. We seem to have some sort of innate dislike for snakes.
Does it have anything to do with some of the spiritual tales told in holy books? Is it just the way they look, as they slither from side to side?
I’m not sure.
But even when I see them in the zoo, which is often in a rather dark environment, I don’t really desire to stay too long, peering at them, especially if they’re moving behind the glass. Certainly there is a small handful of human souls who are in charge of taking care of these creatures, who have developed the ability to come across as functional, if not fearless.
But there is something mystifying. It seems that the more prehistoric a creature appears, the more frightening it is to us. I guess we’re more accustomed to those specimens which have evolved in our span of time.
It’s not that I’m saying that lions, tigers and bears are not equally as intimidating–it’s just that those animals don’t make our skin crawl as much.
I would love to join in a discussion on this with some people who are smarter than me, to see if there are any sociological, psychological or even spiritual aspects to this trepidation.
But I probably won’t do that.
I probably will just choose to keep my distance from the adder … even though I think being called a viper is really cool.