Facing a Fear of Alligators

At five o’clock this morning I woke up drenched in sweat. The open jaws of a very large alligator startled me awake.

It’s not the first time I’ve had that kind of dream. Here’s how they started:

Alligator Dreams

You’ll note that this was written back in November of 2010. For awhile there I was doing great. Then one morning last year, Joann O’Connor and I were walking from the guest house to the ski school and we encountered an alligator lounging in the grass. My heart pretty much leapt out of my chest. I was just glad I wasn’t alone.  My first instinct was to run, but then I remembered a little tidbit I had read somewhere on the web– that alligators can run as fast as 35 mph (not true as I later found out, it’s more like 8 or 9 mph–huge difference!).

To top it off, last fall, I barefoot water skied right by what I can only assume was a very large alligator, judging by the ripples left on the water as I skied by. The boat crew confirmed it.

So for all the bravado I declared back in 2010, I’ve discovered that the fear of alligators is not something I can merely outrun in my mind. There’s no way to control the dreams except after they’ve occurred, and by then, I wake up in a cold sweat and can’t go back to sleep for a long while, even after mentally changing the end of the dream.

Several people have suggested that I face the fears head on by petting an alligator or even wrestling one under supervision. I don’t think that will do anything to alleviate the fears, because the fear stems from the idea of being attacked in the water, and that’s beyond my control.

So unless someone has a solution for me, I’m going to invest stock in a company that develops alligator repellent.

1 reply
  1. Rodney C. Davis
    Rodney C. Davis says:

    My friends are all agape when I tell them I used to live in a place where the backyard was only a couple hundred yards away from a swamp that had alligators in it. It’s hard to get them to understand that seeing one was rare. I only saw one once.. quite dead too. You’re right.. there really isn’t much you can do about an irrational fear.. much less one that comes so much closer to home.

    But this post reminds me of the nightmares one of my sons used to have quite often after playing Splatterhouse back in the mid-90’s on Sega Genesis. He was hooked on that game, but at the same time terrified of it and the nightmares it brought. I think that game taught him a whole lot about overcoming fears. I also think each one of us probably had an overwhelming fear we had to overcome that early in life. Mine was just being in the dark outside the house. Very often, we develop a lifelong pursuit of the thing that we loved so much, it helped us to overcome that fear.

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