I don’t like snakes…

I like to laugh. In fact, it’s one of my favorite pastimes. So when something happens that strikes me funny, I usually don’t trust it to memory, but write it down so I’ll never forget. Sometimes, though, it can take awhile for me to appreciate the humor in a situation. Take this story, for example…

Last night I needed to run an errand that took me to the ‘plaza’ here in town. Now I imagine that when you think of the word ‘plaza,’ it has a slightly different meaning than when I think of it. Ours consists of a handful of businesses.  It’s a small town plaza for, well, a small town.

Of course my daughter, who is still joined at the hip, came along for the ride. Technically I knew she was only tagging along to listen to the fifty radio stations she likes. Seriously, she’s as bad with a car stereo as men are with a remote control! But I enjoy her company immensely, even if I don’t always enjoy her choice of music.

Except I was wrong this time. It wasn’t the lure of the radio that tempted her. Long before we’d even pulled into the parking lot, she began nagging me about the real reason.  She wanted to visit the pet store that had opened a couple of months ago-something I’d managed to avoid thus far.

A glance at the clock showed 7:45 and I sighed and said okay. Only because most everything in the plaza closes at eight…and I knew I wouldn’t be stuck there long. Better to get it out of the way when there was a time limit than to be trapped there indefinitely some other day.

Don’t get me wrong. I like animals just fine. It’s just that pet stores don’t smell good. Kind of like the pet food aisles in grocery and department stores. It makes me kind of want to hold my breath, only it’s one thing to not breathe for the length of an aisle. It’s quite another when it’s an entire store. I’m not sure anyone can hold it that long.

So…

We arrive, my mood not quite as chipper as when we started out. I park the car and get out slowly, taking my time so I can breathe fresh air for as long as possible. My daughter, on the other hand, is inside the store almost faster than I can blink. But, wanting to pretend to be a good mom, I grudgingly step inside and…

I kid you not! I hadn’t gone six feet into that stupid store when the young, female cashier says, “Dan, you’re going to have to get that snake,” which stops me in my tracks immediately. After a brief hesitation I hear Dan say, “Uh, they don’t bite do they?”

By this time my daughter is kneeling down next to a pen of rabbits, in heaven and trying to pet each and every one of them. I’m still hovering near the door thinking, ‘Snake! Dan is going to take a snake out of a cage! While I’m in the store!’

I  try to tell myself that I’m an adult, I can handle this, and finally work up the courage to take a few hesitant steps toward the rabbit pen when I hear someone say, “They move pretty fast, don’t they?”

You know what? So do I.

Our first visit to the new pet store lasted maybe 45 seconds. I swear this kind of thing can only happen to me…

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