If you’ve ever been bitten by a poisonous snake in the wild, please comment below and carry on with your day – this post is probably not for you.
Now, for the rest of us…what are we to make of our fears? Are they rational? Today, I refer specifically to snakes.
I overheard the following dialogue this morning:
Q: “Hey are you going to run the firebreak?”
A: “Why? So I can get bit by a snake?”
Camp Pendleton California consists primarily of dry mountainous terrain subject to fire. The aforementioned “firebreak” is a dirt road of loose soil intended to deter the spread of flames. I have come to prefer running mountain trails such as this. Never once have I encountered a “slithering snake.” (click link below to understand this reference)
Have I stumbled upon rattlesnakes while living in Southern California? Yes. In each case they were minding their own business. Occasionally, so docile I thought they were dead. I respected their space but never felt threatened. The odds of getting bit on the firebreak are so slim that I cringe to even entertain the conversation. Stephen King said it best, “Reality is the best reassurance.”
A long lost friend once admonished me to “Say what you mean”. I have reflected on this counsel often. The phrase “I don’t want to get bit by a snake” probably meant, “I don’t want to run uphill”. We replace truth with deceit. We substitute fear for excuse. We know people will be more likely to freely accept a fear than an outright lie. So, we throw snakes. We spit venom.
If you have a tendency to substitute “snakes” for truth, decide now to improve! For example, next time someone knocks at your door, refrain from spitting venom like this;
“I have no money right now”
“I donated last week”
“I need my partner’s permission”
“I am moving soon”
“My neighbors are probably more interested”
(and on and on)
Instead, try the truth. Say what you mean. Be honest, not rude, just honest. Be firm. Stand your ground. You did as a child. Do it again. Maybe our real fear is telling the truth? Maybe we care too much about what the other person thinks so we rattle our tail of deception.