Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Love of Animals

I love all animals. I mean, sometimes people aren't my favorite but most other animals are awesome. I don't even hate most bugs (exception: roaches). When I was little, in addition to having to deal with my love of stray animals, my dad had to keep me from playing with wolf spiders. 

But there is one big exception. One animal that I have been afraid of forever and would prefer never to have to be near. Or hear about. Or see pictures of. In fact, just writing about this animal has my heart racing anxiously. 

Ostriches. I hate them. 

Wildlife Preserve

My grandparents have always been very involved in my life. For as long as I can remember, we've spent time together almost every weekend. One weekend when I was about 12 years old, my Grama and a friend of hers drove me to a wildlife preserve. The kind where you can drive your car through a field of wild animals and watch them roam. What a cool experience! 

Upon entering the ostrich field, I immediately became uncomfortable. I didn't know why, but my heart began racing and I was certain that one of these large birds was somehow going to peck its way through the window and demolish my face. I felt trapped.

Then, the worst happened. Not knowing that I was already terrified, my grandma's friend decided it would be hilarious just to roll down my window a few inches. Not enough to actually let the flamingo tigers attack me, but just enough to make me scream bloody murder as I tried to shield my face and eyes from the large birds just outside the car window.

First Sighting

After this incident, just the word "ostrich" would send me into a panic. At one point, I confided in my dad.

Me: Dad, I'm afraid of ostriches.
Dad: Oh, I know. You've always been afraid of ostriches.
Me: What do you mean?
Dad: Well... one time when you were very little you watched me feed an ostrich a tomato that was almost as big as your head. And when you saw it swallow the tomato whole and watched it moving down the ostrich's neck you just started screaming and crying.

Now it all made sense. I had always been afraid of ostriches, and I hadn't even remembered why.

My Husband is Mean

One day I made the mistake of telling my boyfriend (now husband) that I have a fear of ostriches. He felt that he could "cure" my fear by making his computer screensaver a picture of an ostrich. He searched Google for the perfect picture, and was highly amused when this appeared:

I could not find a source for this, but if you want credit
for this monstrosity please feel free to comment on this post.
Thus, I was subjected to several months of staring at ostrich fangs. And I still married this man. 

I'm a Survivor

Now, I know you may be thinking, "How often do you really encounter ostriches?" 

You would be surprised. I work with kids. For some reason, these monsters sometimes get grouped up in puzzles and books with cool animals like zebras and peacocks. Then I have to explain what the heck those giraffe eagles are. Then, there are the random inclusions of ostriches in TV and movies. You really ought to have a trigger warning for those. I mean, I couldn't even watch season 4 of Arrested Development. This fear is clearly impacting my life. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad I'm not afraid of something I would have to encounter regularly like spiders or something. But when you have Target selling Halloween costumes like the one below, you can't tell me that I'm not a brave person for continuing to leave my house despite the existence of actual dinosaur chickens on our planet. 

Toddler Girls' Ostrich Rider Costume - One Size Fits Most

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