To say that I am afraid of snakes in the way most women are assumed to be is like saying the sun and a light bulb both provide light. While technically true, the disproportionate amount of power between them renders similarities irrelevant.

And so, I’ve always feared the day someone would ask for information about snakes. Even a sound clip or quick picture can send my mind spiraling for hours. Yet here I sit behind an official desk with an “Ask Me Anything!” sign over my head.

Today was the day.

A perfectly innocent woman with blond curls and baby blue eyes approached. She was accompanied by two small children. She smiled a smile that went all the way up to her eyes, and said very pleasantly, “I’m looking for books about snakes in Ohio.”

I tried to maintain my professional composure. I really did. After all, I didn’t want to scare the kids. Some instincts are just too strong to override.

<cartoon panel 1: Cringing, Amanda types “snake” into catalog.>

<cartoon panel 2: Search results load. Snakes flash onto screen.>

<cartoon panel 3: Amanda recoils with a screech and falls off office chair. Nice Lady and Smiling Children rush to help.>