I too have many similar childhood memories as the rest of you, and personally nothing beats the feel of a snakes scales or even just watching the way that they move. And since I've started keeping animals I've taken them along to all my family functions in attempt to spread the love to my relatives -- and I can't wait to be the eccentric aunt once my sister starts having kids lol. I think it's very important to try and educate people whenever possible, as these creatures are so misunderstood by so many. I even used to take them to school, and my teachers were so interested that they'd let me talk through the entire class about snakes. Lots of fun! When it comes down to it, my creatures are my kids and I can't imagine life without them.
Even shiny fruit may be rotten at the core.