This is how phobias are born.

The other day I opened my front door to find a turtle on my doorstep.

Seriously.  A freaking turtle the size of a football was just hanging out and seeing the sights over here at Bunkersdown.

As you can imagine, all of my offspring exploded with great joy and celebration because there was a turtle at their house.  The older two children tried to convince me that letting them go outside to watch the shelled reptile for hours on end (while neglecting their chores and school work) would be a learning experience. “It’s science!” they pleaded.

I wasn’t completely convinced.  There was something a little shifty in that turtle’s eye.  Plus, he seemed to be saying, “Good hell woman!  Would it kill you to sweep your front porch occasionally?  Sheesh.”  And I have no patience for Judgy Judgertons like that.

(Honestly, doesn’t it feel as if his reptilian eye of red fury is staring directly into your soul?  Don’t you get the feeling that he’s a carnivorous beast that only wants to chomp your fingers into small, bloody stumps?

You don’t?  It’s only me?  Hmmm….weird.)

However, in the name of education and in a vain attempt at squelching my new budding fear of turtles, I did compromise with my children and let them peek and check on the turtle every twenty minutes or so.

I received detailed updates on the turtle’s activities for the next two hours.  “He’s still here” alternated with “He’s not doing much right now.”  Occasionally, one of my children would say, “He acts like he wants to come inside.”  To which I replied immediately and emphatically, “Over my dead body.” (Which is probably, now that I think about it, just what the turtle had in mind).

The kids even came up with a name for him–Mr. Snappy.

Then suddenly, the children went to check on the Mr. Snappy only to find him missing.

We searched high and low for that wretched creature and he was nowhere to be found.  Now, I am no genius, but I do know that turtles aren’t the fastest creatures in the land, nor are they ninjas, disappearing into thin air.  That turtle had to be somewhere, close by.

And yet we couldn’t find him.

Now whenever I go out my front door to check on my flowers or pick my strawberries I get the unshakeable feeling that I am being watched, stalked if you will.  There is a tingly spot on the back of my neck that tells me I am not alone.

And I know someday when I am least expecting it, Mr. Snappy’s going to jump out of the peony bushes and give me a heart attack.  And while I’m lying unconscious on the front porch, he is going to gnaw my fingers into little nubs.  I know it with every fiber of my being.

Chelonaphobia:  the completely irrational fear of turtles despite being infinitely bigger, taller, and quicker than them.

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6 Responses to This is how phobias are born.

  1. I have a turtle story, too! This time of year about five or six years ago, my son, Zack, then about age 8 came home from his friend’s house with a ten gallon fish tank and a red eared slider, yes a turtle, inside the tank. “He gave it to me for my birthday!”

    “But your birthday isn’t ’til August.”

    “Yup, it’s an early birthday present.”

    Holy Cow what was I to do. (Not to mention that same day I had found a litter of kittens nesting inside my garage.) I was feeling like we were suddenly running a zoo. I couldn’t tell him no, especially since Zack’s friend’s mom didn’t want the turtle at their house. UGH. So we kept the turtle. Turns out they typically live as long as humans: 80 years or so.

    Many years and one move later, and a larger tank to boot, we still have said turtle. I bite my tongue as not to curse every time I have to help clean that darn 35 gallon tank it’s in. Someday I will put an ad in the paper in hopes to get rid of it. Zack doesn’t care whether we keep it or not. He doesn’t want to have to do the work to care for it. Quite frankly, I don’t blame him!

    For sale: $100 fish tank, free turtle…must take both!

  2. Marie says:

    That’s really all I have to say.

  3. Mindy says:

    Being infinitely bigger, taller, or quicker isn’t going to help you out much if Mr. Snappy gives you a heart attack first. I’d say that it would be in your best interest to have a small child with you at all times when venturing outside. One that knows how to call 9-1-1, preferably.

  4. whitney says:

    I ran over a turtle once. The crunch…I nearly threw up.

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