Herald-Journal Herald and Journal, April 20, 1998

No itsy bitsy spider for me

By SUE FINK

Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy the warm days of summer without insects?

I know we would all relax a lot more on our summer evenings if we could sit outside without swatting mosquitoes off each other.

Ticks are another irritant we could live without. Besides the danger of lyme disease, there is always the pleasant task of removing an engorged wood tick from the neck of the family dog. This is definitely one of those times when a husband really comes in handy.

For a few years we had a spraying service come and spray around the farm buildings for flies. They even came up and sprayed around the house. This was great! It really cut down on the number of flies we had to deal with.

One of the extra benefits of spraying around the house was the decrease in spiders. To those of you who like spiders and find them useful, I apologize.

I hate spiders. There is nothing that makes my skin crawl like the average brown house spider sitting in the sink when I approach to do the dishes. That is startling enough. Having one running toward you on the floor is even more disgusting. They seem to be running toward me, rather than away from me. Do they have a death wish?

I think it is this rapid movement of their eight hairy legs that makes me shudder. Don't tell me they don't have hairy legs. I'm not going to get close enough to check them out.

It probably was a childhood incident that caused my fear of spiders. I remember getting up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom. I was probably about 10 years old at the time. I didn't need to turn a light on because I could see my way in the light from the living room. On the way back to bed I looked down and saw a black spider crawling up the front of my flannel nightgown.

I reacted instantly, brushing the spider off and running for my room. I don't remember if I screamed, but I never forgot that spider.

You can bet there have been more than a few screams about spiders since then. My sister, Kyle, delighted in tormenting me with spiders when we were kids.

The worst thing she ever did was to put some big, fat, brown barn spiders from a neighbors barn in a jar. Then she put the jar under my pillow and waited until I discovered it when I went to bed. I was afraid to put my hand under my pillow for quite a while.

My worst spider incident happened in 1976. I remember the year because my daughter, Lisa, was a newborn at the time. It was bath night at the Fink house. My daughter Gina was waiting to have her hair washed.

When I came in the door and turned toward the tub, Gina exclaimed, "Mom, there's a spider right in front of you." Of course, I thought she was kidding. My children delight in teasing and scaring people. I ignored her little joke and walked toward the tub with the shampoo.

Just then I saw a big brown spider run across the bathroom floor. You know, the ones with all the fast-moving hairy legs. It gives me the creeps just thinking about it. Lucky me. I was wearing shoes. My shoes spoke and the spider moved no more.

I felt a little squeamish about it, but I did not want this big spider to escape and come back later for a repeat performance.

The next morning I was glad I had killed the offending arachnid. My right eye was all red and swollen. It itched so badly I wanted to claw my eye out. Right by the corner of the eye, on the lower lid, you could see the bite.

When I had come into the bathroom the night before, the spider was hanging on its silk at eye level. I didn't see it or feel it, but obviously the spider had seen and felt me.

I was miserable for the next few days until the itching finally stopped. It took even longer for the redness to fade.

That was the clincher for me. Since then I feel I am on a holy mission to destroy any spider that crosses my path.

I'm ready for this year's invasion, and I'm warning all you eight-legged creeps. If you are found hiding in the corner of the sink you will be disposed of. If you insist on running toward, or even near me, your bug catching days are through.

And if you have the nerve to rappel down in front of me, then you better just kiss your web goodbye, Spidey, 'cuz you're a goner.


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