Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's All A Rich Tapestry

In response to my last two posts, a reader has asked me if I can pinpoint the cause for my fear of toilet snakes. After I gave it some thought, I was reminded of a quote from an episode of FOX's sitcom The Simpsons called Fear of Flying. In that episode, Marge realizes that she has an extreme fear of flying. While she and her psychologist explore her cause for this fear, the psychologist says "Yes, yes, it's all a rich tapestry."

I think that I can apply this theory to my life as well. There have been several things that have happened throughout my life that have caused my many fears and worries. Some occurances may have more weight than others, but "I" am the sum of my many experiences.

If I look back at the many experiences that may have contributed to my obsession with toilet snakes, then I can point to the following happenings as major culprits:

1. As a young child (0-5 years)I lived in a very rural setting on a dirt road. The only other house in the "neighborhood" was abandoned and resembled (in my mind) the spooky rundown mansion that is shown during the opening of Scooby Doo episodes. In my memory, this forsaken area was teaming (or so it seemed) with large black snakes. Every nook and cranny either harbored a slithering creature or threatened to. Even the inside of my house was not safe from intrusion. Snakes would appear in our washing machine, often in the basement, and at least once in my toy box. I used to scream at night for my father to come and rescue me from the imaginary snakes crawling under the covers on my bed.

2. In those early days described above, my grandparents house was between 1-2 miles away. It resided on 40 acres that had been owned by my family for three generations. While my father was growing up, the old things of the earlier generations (outdoor shower, outdoor toilets, oneroom school house, hand dug well, hand dug septic system) were still in existence and were still being used. Their property was crawling with snakes, too. I can remember stories of my father taking an outdoor shower and looking up to find a snake hanging from the shower head. I found a few snakes there myself, usually sunning themselves on rocks in the pasture.

3. After my family moved to the city, we would still visit my grandparents on the farm. The outhouse was no longer in use, but critters still prevailed. My grandfather found a bat in the toilet one day. I'm not really afraid of bats, though. However, if a bat could get into a toilet, my young mind told me that a snake could get in as well.

4. I have kind of a macbre facination with snakes overall. I love to see them when they are behind glass at a zoo or behind the glass of my TV screen. Therefore, I have induldged every opportunity to gawk at them and marvel at the shivers that they provoke in myself and most of our population.

While writing and looking through this list, one thing strikes me as being odd. I've never actually encountered a snake in my toilet. Yes, the thought of such an occurance is traumatic. The possibility of it happening is extremely slim. I've never had the pleasure and have never heard of anyone meeting a toilet snake. Yet, I've wasted emotion and energy on fear that will never be realized.

Even though my many experiences have added up to this particular fear....and the fear is real and has real effects....the possibility of the compenents of my fear ever becoming tangible is nearly ZERO.

Hmmm...this equation is not blanced.

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