Most people fear spiders, clowns or heights, but what am I afraid of? Snails. Molluscophobia is the fear of snails.

Yvonne Lieu.

When I was small, I decided to take the risk of going barefoot in my backyard. I was pretty successful avoiding various shards of glass, slimy creatures and deadly snakes — at least until I experienced a life-changing moment. I remember exactly when it happened. The instant I was nearly to the door, I encountered what I feared most: I had stepped on a snail. With only a flowery, lavender sock on my foot, the brittle crunch of the little snail shell that was once its home felt as if it echoed through the entire backyard, which was followed by my tiny 5-year-old’s shriek. After that, I took a walk of shame back to the house, with tears streaming down my face. I don’t know which was worse, the fact that I stepped on a snail and ended its life, or that my favorite pair of socks were contaminated with snail goo. Luckily, my sister was nice enough that day to get rid of my infected sock that I would never dare wear again. I spent most of that week with mixed emotions: I felt bad that the snail would never get to experience life anymore. I felt disgusted that a snail pretty much exploded under the pressure of my foot; most of all, I felt terrified.

Snails are so small and said to be harmless, but do people know that they are able to reproduce on their own? They are uncontrollable organisms with a vision of being the most overpopulated organism on this planet, ready to overcome the human race. I’m in an awe of how some people are even able to consume these slimy and repulsive creatures in a normal course of dinner. There are always heart-stopping thoughts that run through my mind when I pass a “harmless” snail moving along the sidewalk, when I find one attached to the side of a flower pot, or when I open my front door to see that one had decided to have a party with its snail friends in front of my home. Everyone has an irrational fear, and mine is snails.

I did learn one thing from this experience: I should always wear shoes when I go into the backyard.

(Republished from the Gaucho Gazette student newspaper.)

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