Mr. Sensitive

May 1, 2010

Origins Of Spider Détente

Filed under: Stuff I Just Wanted To Say — lbej @ 16:38
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I hate spiders.  All human beings do, at least on a primal, visceral level.  The weird people who have spiders as pets are doing it precisely because it’s weird, not because spiders aren’t repugnant to them.  I watched Gremlins 2 the other day and one of the ideas they had was what if Saruman had a genetics lab in Trump Tower and he was making a bunch of potions that were “essence of ______”.  Of course the gremlins break into the lab and they start drinking the potions, and pretty soon there’s a bat gremlin and an electric gremlin and a vegetable gremlin and so on and so forth.  Well there’s also a super-mean boss gremlin (taking the role of Stripe from the first movie), and his name is Mohawk because you bet it is.  Mohawk spends most of the movie torturing Gizmo (why do the gremlins always know Gizmo’s name—nobody ever tells them but they’re all like “Geeezzmo, hee hee hee”), but once he gets bored with that he heads on over to Saruman’s lab.  And what essence does the worst, most monstrous gremlin drink to make him even more evil?  You got it.  Eventually Gizmo kills Spider-Mohawk with a flaming bottle of whiteout that he’s evidently turned into napalm with, I guess, his mind.  That movie was not a good movie.  But the point is that the worst thing people can think of is a giant spider, and I am mostly people.

Also remember the end of the Ewok Movie?  Crap, here come the dreams on that one.

When I was younger I just killed every spider I could kill without touching it, whereas now there are rules governing which spiders are to be killed and where.  After my recent black widow dilemma I got to thinking about how that change came to pass.  It amounts to a Pragmatic Sanction ending universal war against spiders and was a decision not taken lightly.  I’m not sure of the exact timing of the final ratification of the me-spider treaty because of the nature of spider diplomacy, but I believe I know when I began to consider the possibility of rapprochement.  It was six or so years ago, I believe, because Reagan was a baby.  We had a black widow spider living in the crevice in the ceiling on Katie’s side of the garage (she was still parking there at the time), one that had already descended unprovoked in front of Marcus as he was simply walking nearby.  If it bit him he would be hurting, but if it bit six-month-old Reagan…not even okay to think about.  I had it in my head that if I so much as looked at it funny it would leap at me, skitter up my nose and eat my brain.  So we called an exterminator to come deal with it.  When he arrived he asked me if I wanted him to kill her (the spider), as though it would be better just to pat it on the shoulder and escort it off the premises.  Go sleep it off, buddy, maybe when you wake up tomorrow morning you won’t be A POISONOUS MONSTER.  I asked him to kill it, please.  He sighed a little and I think he maybe shook his head.  Then he sprayed up into its crevice, paralyzing it and causing it to descend limply on a strand of webbing.  The exterminator plucked the webbing near the top, carried the spider out to the driveway, and set it on the ground.  It staggered for a moment and came to rest before he planted his heel behind it and lowered the front of his boot slowly (not joking) onto the spider, crushing it tenderly.  He brushed the body gently into the grass.  “She didn’t mean anything by it,” he said.  I was a little miffed at this guy who kills bugs for a living making excuses for them, but after awhile I realized he was right.  The spider had to die, but I didn’t have to hate it.  I try now to let practical considerations trump instinctual dislike.  I try to use my hatred to inspire me when I need inspiration, but to direct it with reason so that once it subsides I may have achieved by its energizing effect such a victory as I can be glad of upon calm reflection.  And thus has a lasting peace been achieved.  Also it’s cleaner in the house now and they hate clean.

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5 Comments »

  1. A+ I want to start grading all of your posts now, but I won’t. I really really want to watch The Ewok Adventure now, and that I will do.

    Comment by Charlotte — May 1, 2010 @ 17:20 | Reply

    • The Ewok Adventure is what it’s called. Thank you for that, I thought Ewok Movie sounded wrong. On the plus side, that means “The Ewok Movie” isn’t taken, so there’s a project for the new month.

      Comment by lbej — May 1, 2010 @ 17:24 | Reply

  2. It didn’t make you want to watch Gremlins 2, Charlotte?

    I don’t have nearly as strong a memory of that exterminator visit as you do, but I suppose that’s true of a lot of things. I am glad that you killed the black widow. Thanks.

    Comment by Katie — May 1, 2010 @ 17:32 | Reply

  3. Gremlins 2 is a great movie, I say with absolutely no concrete memories of it. But I wanted to tell you that I’ve killed about ten spiders in my house over the last week, including one crawling around inside my coffee maker. No widows or recluses (I’m not even sure they live around here), but plenty of orb spiders. So are they declaring war? Do I need to set out rules of engagement?

    Also, I’ve always loved the psychological concept of the “arachnid reaction,” which is disgust and terror at being confronted by something alien. Because, of all the animals that could be chosen, scientists chose spiders.

    Comment by M. Eure — May 2, 2010 @ 08:40 | Reply

    • I had great memories of Gremlins 2, because of John Glover and Phoebe Cates, both of whom are hot. Turns out they had about 90 seconds worth of good jokes and they decided to make a 90 minute movie, so you do the math. Also if you like the fourth wall where it’s supposed to be (and I do), Gremlins 2 is not for you.
      On your spider situation, you need to kill them hard. First thing you do is spray all conceivable points of access to nature and sever lines of supply and reinforcement. They don’t like harsh chemicals and generally won’t cross over areas treated with them. Next you treat all crannies and crevices, and spray piles of anything that have lain undisturbed for a while. You don’t have to go crazy with this barrage in terms of intensity, but make sure you have supreme coverage. The point here is to disturb them and drive them out into the open. Then you execute individual offenders gratuitously. You want them swimming in their death. Spiders in the house is a no-no, and a show of overwhelming force is in order so that you can negotiate from a position of strength. You don’t want to say “oh, hey, spiders, I know you’re all up in my house and it looks like there’s nothing I can do about it, but I’d like to make a deal.” You want to be able to say, “You know what I’ve done, you know what I will do. The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther!” I’ve found it helps to demonstrate your willingness to single-handedly turn your house into an EPA Superfund site.

      Comment by lbej — May 2, 2010 @ 09:18 | Reply


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