I was quite a fearful child. While living in a small mining town in the middle of Queensland I spent a lot of time being terrified of goannas. Goannas are large, dog-sized lizards with sharp claws and a sauntering gait like a pugnacious gunslinger. My Dad told us that goannas were extremely vicious and if we ever encountered one it would very likely mistake us for a tree and clamber up our bodies and scratch our faces off. He then said that the best thing to do when you see one was to lie down on the ground. That way they won’t mistake your trembling pale form for a large eucalyptus tree. Okay then.
One afternoon my older sister and I were walking through a park on the way home from school when she screamed “Look! It’s a goanna!” and dropped to the ground like she’d been shot by a sniper. I squinted into the distance and I also saw this ferocious lizard. Well, it could have been a large stick but I wasn't going to take any chances so I laid prostrate in the dirt alongside her. Every now and then my sister would furtively check on the whereabouts of the loitering malicious killer but I lay perfectly still in the baking red dust, like a newborn fawn, waiting for the danger to pass.
After what felt like hours but was probably only 10 minutes, a neighbour saw us and yelled “Hey, you kids! What’s going on? Get off the ground and out of the sun, you idiots!”
We sheepishly got up, dusted ourselves off and scampered home, our faces intact. Thanks for the advice, Dad.