We all have something we fear—public speaking, snakes, heights, dirt, or even the color yellow. For me, it’s frogs. I’m terrified of them, creeped out beyond the capacity for rational thought at the sight of one, and brought to the edge of hysteria when one sneaks up on me. If there’s a word stronger than phobia for it, that’s the term I’d have to use. I’m not being melodramatic about this, I promise. At the sight of a one of these long-jumping amphibious monstrosities, I am magically transformed from a fairly cogent and well-spoken adult to a gibbering patient in a mental asylum drawing on the wall using her own feces.
Well, that might be a bit extreme, but you get the idea.
Knowing this, I bet you’re curious as to why I’m standing under a sign that reads “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors” when it’s more like “A Chorus of Terrors” for me. Well, we were at the Georgia Aquarium for Wayne’s company picnic this weekend (Pretty boss, I know!), and it was a new exhibit that none of us had seen. I didn’t want to be the only idiot who wouldn’t go in, and I also thought that, since they’d be behind glass, I’d be okay looking at them.
Like I have been about so many things in this life, I was wrong.
This is the first one we came across, and I literally stepped back in revulsion and nearly tripped over an old lady in a wheelchair. I didn’t mean to. Something in my head skipped over all the launch protocols and pre-flight checks, and my body went straight up AWOL. It never moved anything besides its gigantic, disgusting eyeballs, but I went from saying things like, “I confess that I find Althusser’s view of Repressive and Ideological State Apparatuses oddly alluring despite my penchant for capitalism” to “Nillawafer wonkyjawed limberwhamma vickthyicky gooberton!”
As you can tell by the human foot Wayne caught on the edge of this one to give it some scale, this African Horned Frog is as big as a dinner plate–slimy, bulbous, and hellish. I believe I actually got slightly nauseous at this point, which was only frog number four or five–and it didn’t quit until we’d left the aquarium. I honestly cannot look at a picture of this thing without recoiling in repugnance.
This is me trembling in abject dismay, just inches away from the creature. It didn’t get any better after this point as I was treated to twenty minutes in my own private version of hell.
These little green ones didn’t horrify me as much of the others did, which I think has everything to do with their diminutiveness. The larger they are, the more likely I am to wet myself it seems. It also didn’t hurt that they didn’t appear to be as slimy as the other ones.
Ironically, these were the only frogs I didn’t instantly back peddle from…and they’re the most venomous ones! Blue, green, yellow, and orange–these things looked like something you’d get from those two-quarter gizmos at the front of a grocery store. You know, the things that come out in a plastic half shell?
Here I am looking at the Lilliputian bringers of death like any average patron. It was a moment of respite in an otherwise tumultuous time. The rest of the trip through went like this.
And let’s just say that this left me hiding behind my husband like a little mewling girl.
This is the view of me he captured with his camera as I stared in mute shock at the cornucopia of vomit-inducing sights. I’d like to tell you that he valiantly protected me the entire way and helped me work through an smidgen of my phobia by using him as a human bulwark. But that would be a lie. He spent as much time wrestling me closer to the glass and teasing me as he did helping.
By the end of it, I had a serious case of the huzz. I don’t think I overcame much of anything. I’m still scared stiff by something that’s a fraction of my size for no good reason. However, everyone had a great time at my expense. The people in our party were on the receiving end of a free show, and even a few of the folks waiting outside got a laugh.
How about you all? Any phobias you can’t explain? I’d love to hear your equivalent to my froggy fear! Also, if you have a way to overcome them, I’d love to hear your tale of victory!