I hate spiders. Always have. And the problem I have is this: So does everyone else in my family. But even so, who ends up being the spider-killer whenever one has infiltrated our ranks and has been found trespassing within the borders of our domain?
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I love being my family’s protector–even for such a small yet grotesque enemy as these eight-legged creatures that are the spawn of Satan if ever there was any–but is there a line to be drawn at any point that says even I can’t go that far when it comes to doing so?
So as a result, getting rid of spiders by any means necessary has always fallen upon my shoulders. Rightfully so and I embrace that responsibility. My insides might be all aquiver, but I will gladly face off and go toe-to-toe with that worthy foe than have my family (namely my wife) be faced with that daunting task. My boys are getting old enough now, though, that they are already crossing that line from boyhood to manhood by being forced to kill their own spiders. (Nothing beats that rush once the task is done! Knowing that you conquered that fear and beat down the enemy in the process–for those boys, that’s another step in the right direction of being the protector of their own households someday.) So with this groundwork laid, let’s talk about something that happened early last summer.
We live in southwestern Ohio, so we don’t deal with gigantic spiders that are as big as Buicks like folks in the southwestern U.S. do. However, we have always had periodic issues with wolf spiders in our house from time to time. And for some reason, it’s usually in the bathtub that we find one. (By the way, there’s something very gratifying about turning on the hot scalding water and washing one down the drain!) But sometimes one can be seen skipping across the living room floor, all cocky and conceited, thinking it owns the joint and has carte blanche to go wherever it wants to. Well, we were sitting in our living room one evening watching TV when we all saw a wolf spider beatin’ feet from the floor under the entertainment center to the floor under the couch we were sitting on. You’ve never seen a whole room scramble to their feet faster than we did in that suspended moment of time! After our feet eventually found the floor again, I told one of our boys to get me the flyswatter from the laundry room as my wife and I pulled the couch out from the wall and attempted to locate the vile creature that had just attempted a vehement attack upon us innocent folk.
The couch was against our picture window that has curtains that hang to the floor (a perfect hiding place for this eight-legged personification of evil). As my youngest son came back with the flyswatter, I began moving the bottoms of the curtains aside to see where it might be, flyswatter at the ready. What I saw took my breath away and made me instantly lose all focus on any wolf spider that might be back there. (In fact, as I recall, I believe I blurted out, “HOLY CRAP!!”). As I moved one of the curtains, there before me at the base of the wall and the floor was a spider whose body and legs were a good 2.5 inches in diameter, the abdomen itself being the size of a nickel! I could even see the jaws this thing had from my standing position! I was freaking out on the inside!! I knew I had to “up the ante”, so I told our son who got the flyswatter to go get one of my shoes (I had to have more than a measly flyswatter for a behemoth like this one!). He flew out to the laundry room, grabbed one and came rushing back into the living room. This huge gargantuan hadn’t moved (something I was very thankful for since I wasn’t properly armed until that moment), so I, with flyswatter in one hand and shoe in the other, moved in for the kill. As I got closer to it, it still hadn’t moved and I noticed that it looked kind of old (my thoughts: Maybe it’s already dead? Has been for quite some time?). So I swallowed hard and decided to poke it with the flyswatter to see what it would do–fully prepared for an evasive move on my part should it suddenly turn on me and attack.
Yup, it was dead. Hold on. No, it wasn’t dead–because it was plastic!!! It was a stupid plastic spider that one of the babysitting kids had lost behind the couch way back when. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or just collapse on the floor then and there in the fetal position for awhile and suck my thumb, mumbling incoherent gibberish while doing so.
I decided to laugh about it. It’s better than crying. But I’m still mumbling incoherent gibberish.