From as early as I can remember, I loathed snakes. I found the patterns of their skin ugly. The unbelievably smooth contraction and relaxing of their muscles as they slithered across the ground was the stuff of nightmares. The vertical slit of the pupil. The flicker of the tongue. All horrible beyond belief provoking a physical reaction would seize me almost before I knew it.
It made complete sense to me that Satan would take the form of a snake to fuck everything up.
Early on, I learned to stop screaming and crying like a girl upon sighting them in the yard or on a trail. It was simply too shaming, even for a little kid to behave that way, and I knew it.
As a teenager, I undertook the project to get over my repulsion. I went to the zoo and made myself stay in the herpetology room for as long as I could stand it.
In college, among the many moronic vogues, was a fashion for reptiles and particularly snakes as pets. I made myself stroke their oddly dry scales with what must have been a hysterically fixed grin on my face. I could take it. But even after all the hard work, that flinch left over from my early fear never quite left me.