Friday, October 12, 2007

My Phobia

I have a phobia. Like a real one that makes me do crazy things that no normal person would do. It's not the fear of heights, people, or spiders. I have a serious fear of alligators and crocodiles. I mean, a SERIOUS FEAR of alligators and crocodiles.

I have never lived in a place where either alligators or crocodiles are indigenous. I technically have never had anything to fear. However, this does not keep me from taking anti-crocodile measures. For example, if I can help it (and I usually can) I don't take baths or showers in lower level bathrooms. Because, you know, you never can tell when a rogue crocodile will be lurking in the two inch pipes that lead up to your shower. In my mind, they are incredibly resourceful. This worked great for me when we lived in Utah, as our house had a basement, and there was no need to worry. This also works great for me in Texas, where all of our bathrooms are on the second story. This does not work so well for me when I go to visit my in-laws or my parents, where I have to shower in the basement. Let's just say I can shower very, very quickly if I need to.

Another anti-crocodile technique that I use: I never, NEVER, NEVER go swimming in the deep ends of pools. Because, again, you never can tell when a rogue crocodile will have picked your pool to take a nap in. This was true even when I lived in Las Vegas, where no wild crocodile has ever been spotted. My parents have a lovely pool, but I stay in the shallow end. This has become less noticeable now that I have children, because everyone thinks that I just am staying close to them because I'm so protective. I know the truth, though. I am really avoiding the crocodiles that lurk in the drain.

When we take our kids to the zoo, I'm not even tempted to look in the crocodile cage. You will see me steer completely around it with whatever child happens to be in the stroller at the moment. You never can tell when a rogue crocodile will give that Plexiglass a nasty whip with his tail and decide it's time to eat that lady pushing the stroller.

Where does this bizarre phobia come from? I have a distinct memory of watching a show when I was really young that I think had something to do with it. I believe it was creatively titled Alligator! and it was in the same genre as Arachnophobia, and Snakes on a Plane. Here's the gist: an alligator wrestler (I know, who knew this career path existed?) gets angry because a friend of his gives his daughter a baby alligator as a pet. In his rage, he FLUSHES it down the TOILET! Well, of course, alligators are resilient, and so for fifteen or twenty years, this alligator not only survives but THRIVES in the city sewage system. It emerges one day to eat the bride at a wedding ceremony. It emerges another day (into a neighborhood swimming pool) to eat a birthday boy. They finally free the city from the alligator's predatory ways by blowing it (and half of the sewage system) to bits with huge amounts of dynamite. I believe I was four when I saw this movie, and it has dramatically changed my life, I think for the better. Because, you know, I will never be the one who is eaten by the rogue crocodile, thank you very much, because I have taken all the necessary steps to prevent it.

Of course, I've told my four-year old daughter that I'm not such a fan of alligators and crocodiles. But if you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll say, "An alligator scientist." To me, that's a real clue that it's time to rent Alligator! just to give her a realistic picture of what her future might look like. And as an anti-crocodile measure for myself. Because who knows when she'll bring home a rogue crocodile? Ah, well, if she does, I'll just flush it down the toilet. . .


Sibri said...

Maybe you haven't taken all the necessary precautions hon, I mean Umberella's act as no protection during an aligator down pour ;0)

Prefered your old skin by the way... not very easy on the eyes this one!

Kiera said...

Hey Heidi,
You are so funny! I am amazed at all the steps you have taken to avoid alligators! I had no idea you had a blog! I will keep checking on you!

carl b smith and marilyn said...

This fear has been transmitted on chromosome #13, 12nanonanometers from the left end and was given to you by your mother!

Amy said...

girl I love you so are hilarious! you should have started this blog so long ago! think how much you have to catch up!

Mandy said...

I appreciate your fear of alligators, that is too funny. I read it aloud to Jared and he was laughing and enjoying the fact we have the same fear. Although you are way on the phobia end of things because I am ok with showers, but swimming pools and hot tubs are perfect alligator locations!!!

Oh keep it up, you are great with words.

Pamela said...

I was a young adult when "Jaws" was first released. I couldn't go swimming or soak in a tub for quite some time after that.

Letting you watch a horror movie as a 4 year old was abuse... really.

I wonder what Dr. Phil would say.

kate said...

hi. i'm kate, and you're friends may laugh at you, but you can rest assured that you're not alone with your fear... i actually stumbled onto your blog here when i was looking up what the fear of alligators and crocodiles might be called to get my friends and family to lay off the jokes! and strange as it may seem, I too take verry extreme anti alligator precautions in my everyday life. i honestly try to avoid baths alltogether because of my fear.

I am verry happily married to a wonderful man... in every aspect but one... he's from Florida!! where these nightmarish creatures run rampant (as i'm sure you know) and i can tell you that when we go to viset his family... well it's no vacation for me, let's just say that. I had to walk by a pond with my sons one day and I asked my father-in-law if there were any alligators in it, and he told me, "not that I know of"... which as i'm sure you'll agree just isn't a concrete enough answer. so i was holding my son (they may get me but i'll be damned if they're gonna get my baby) and a squirl ran up a tree and i was so on edge that i jumped about 10 feet and screamed at the top of my lungs. i've never lived that down and am now constantly reminded of the fuzzy tree-climbing alligator that i had almost got me.

so thanks for making me feel less crazy.

PS... watch deep puddles... baby alligators can be really small

likewisereader said...

i have the exact same fear and i also have never lived in a place with them...i've never heard of anyone else being as scared as me and it's good to know there is

Falante said...

I am overjoyed to know that I am not the only one with a completely irrational fear of Alligators and their brethren. They have given me the willies for as long as I can remember. My Legartophobia (which is what I've decided to dub it, as no other phobia suitably describes the condition) also began with a simple movie when I was I child. The culprit in my case, however, may be slightly more embarrassing. Do you remember Disney's "The Rescuers"? With the two mice and the little girl? Well, the villain in that animated horror-show had a pair of pet Alligators, who were shown swimming away to their freedom at the very end.

I've been terrified of Alligators ever since.

monkie mama said...

Okay, I am reading this and trying desperately not to guffaw out loud (the monkies are sleeping--a sacred, sacred thing to be sure!) I must look like a raving lunatic shaking silently with tears streaming down my face! I've said it before, I'll say it again--You are hilarious girl! I may have to rethink my casual attitude regarding those reptilian scoundrels! Who knew there were so many possibilities for rogue alligator attacks!

Anonymous said...

i have the exact same fear.... but i live in Miami so they actually are where i live! every time i go in my pool, i check for alligators/crocodiles first. One time, there was a dead baby alligator in my backyard and i fear that one day its mom will come looking for it.

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Pamela Vazquez-Whitney said...

I don't blame you at all for fearing Alligators and Crocodiles.
I get nightmares and get awful daydreams of them.
I think it was because when I was at a camp prep day this year I, and many others, had to go Kayaking in a river that was 30 feet deep and had a number of Alligators and Crocodiles so I was kind of worried before and when I went in to the boat but a few mins. after going in the boat I was crying and very fearful and then I hit a rock with the boat and I started screaming and crying because the rock was about the size of a Croc or Alligator and was covered on moss and alge so I responded ad if it was a real threat. I then went into shock and someone had to pull my kayak out of the water and then a I was not responsive of a few hours.
So I think thats what made me grow a fear of thoughs types of reptiles. Also there was other things that gave me good reasons to fear them, like: I live in Florida, I have multiple medical issues, I am only 14, and I am VERY weak.
I hoope you get over your phobia and if you do maybe I can get over my 6 pages of phobias as well.=D