Spiders! I hate spiders. I wasn’t born with a natural fear and loathing, but experience has taught me that you don’t want to get within hopping distance of one. Don’t try to tell me that spiders don’t hop. With a magnifying glass you would be able to see the anticipation in all the little lenses of their compound eyes, and the gnashing of their venom-filled fangs each time a person gets within range.
I recently took on the challenge of cleaning the screened porch. This involved sweeping away cobwebs along the roofline while standing directly underneath them. Tiny strands and egg sacks were flying every direction and I was at ground zero. I struggled to be strong and not beg for rescue each time I had to gish a live one. I couldn’t wait to strip out of my shorts and t-shirt so I could take a shower with boiling bleach.
The night after my ordeal when I went to bed, I felt some discomfort in my yoo-hoo area. I was itching and scratching in a most unlady-like manner. Fortunately, as we all know, scratching is acceptable as long as you are under the covers with the lights out. Finally, I turned on the light to investigate and found a spider bite right where my panties meet my inner thigh. Let me be perfectly clear: there had been a spider IN MY PANTS! Thank God for those extra middle-age pounds that kept my panty elastic stretched tighter than shrink wrap, forming an impenetrable barrier between my lady parts and any 8 legged creatures.
I grew up in Seattle, where there were no poisonous spiders, but a lot of earwigs. On those rare occasions when you had enough sunshine to hang your pants on the line, you risked an infestation of earwigs in your favorite jeans. This was the inspiration behind one of the worst strip tease dances in the history of the Pacific Highway Texaco station; but I digress.
I should be used to icky creatures by now. I live in the Low Country of South Carolina where they grow free-range spiders as big as saucers. Dogs and cats under 15 pounds have mysteriously disappeared without a trace in areas frequented by these Goliaths. No spider has been caught in the act yet, but if you go to the bar, you can hear them bragging to each other about their latest conquest.
A walk through the woods involves a lookout man with a baseball bat, and a revolver. On one such walk, my son stopped to do what guys normally do when confronted by alligators, snakes and giant spiders: he poked one of these monsters with a stick. I swear I am telling the truth. The spider grabbed the stick and took it away from him. Then he shook the stick menacingly at my son. Even the armed and dangerous lookout man wasted no time getting back to the car.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting our beautiful state, but you might want to stay out of the woods and off of my back porch when you come.