Monday, January 28, 2013

How I Learned to Eat Like a Boa Constrictor

I hate snakes.

Nobody abhors them like me. I don't care what form they're in--pictures, pixels, or boots, I have no use for the things.

I mean, I have a heart about it. I don't wish them death...well, at least not all of them. I just want them to stay away from me forever and always forever and forever amen. Always.

For the record, I don't like them.
I don't like them in purses, or wallets, or belts.
I don't like them in zoos, in paintings, or pelts.
Not in a traffic jam, not at the Hoover Dam, not with a giant clam.
I do not like them, Sam-I-Am, not even with green eggs and ham.


Lately, I have been having some dental...adventures. 

Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but I am just about as phobic of dentists as I am of snakes, and as a result, I ended up with a couple of broken teeth inconveniently placed on either side of my mouth. This left me with nowhere to chew and a diet that looks like this:

Now, I like Jell-O as much as the next girl. It wiggles. It jiggles. It's fun to throw at my dog. However, after a couple of weeks of it, even the most stubborn among us (ahem), will get thee to a dentist. I did actually manage this with only a handful of half-hearted threats to run to Canada (and one really serious threat to run to Nashville). One would think that I would be saved after spending 10 hours in a dental chair. (No. I'm not exaggerating, however, it was probably the nicest dentist office with the nicest dentist and nicest staff that ever lived in all of Toothville, so it could have been worse.)

I thought that I was saved. I thought that the Jell-O and the yogurt and the Jell-O and the pudding and the Jell-O and the applesauce and the Jell-O and the broth were all over. No more tossing back those kind of slimy yogurt drink things like cheap tequila shots just to get something in my stomach without assaulting my poor mouth. No more jealously watching my husband chew and chew and chew--pizza, salad, chips, his fingernails. Surely the liquid nightmare would end after I, of all people, made myself go to the nice dentist. Surely.

I had somehow forgotten why it was that I feared dentists. When they're through with you, even the nice ones, you hurt. A lot. Too much to chew. Too much to open your mouth to squeeze in the pain pills.

I have another dental visit to go, which means more hurting, and more Jell-O. I think about eating solid food. I think about it a lot, the way a recovering alcoholic craves that drink. Then my jaw throbs and I give up the dream. Getting a bite of food from spoon to stomach is kind of like trying to swallow the Rocky Mountains.

As I said, I have been desperate for sustenance. That is when I remembered that my arch nemeses, the sssslithery sssnakes who are forced to gulp down their meals just like me. Suddenly, I find myself feeling a kinship to the boa constrictor, who must first catch his prey, squeeze it to death, and then swallow it whole. I'm not too keen on that whole squeezing things to death thing--I prefer to hunt my prey at the supermarket, but the swallowing whole thing has become compelling to me.

My new hero is the boa constrictor in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This guy knew how to do it. He managed to get an elephant down, and he looks a little smug about it. (For some reason the elephant looks a little smug too, but that's neither here nor there.)


This guy is giving me something to shoot for. He is now the official coolest snake ever to exist. It doesn't hurt that he is in the official coolest book ever to exist either, but hey. I'm learning to appreciate the nuances.

This ordeal has inspired me to conquer my phobias and learn to appreciate two things that I have spent my life outright running away from. If you were to get creative about it, what kinds of things could you find in your life that might have a little more to them than you give them credit for?

Probably not Jell-O, though. It just kind of is what it is.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Coolest illustrations ever. I love the bowl of Earth with a spoonful of mountain. :) Sad for your teeth, though. :(