Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spiders and Snakes

One way or another I ended up reading Glen over at the Thunderbox, and he's writing about Phobias. Evidently Glenn is one of those people who can't tolerate the insect world as easily as some of us do, although I'll admit to a strong aversion to the Florida flying cockroach, the Palmetto bug, and the large brown water bug that showed up on our dinner table without warning one afternoon.  It was about the size of my thumb and was purposefully making its way to some destination out of sight of humanity and hungry birds.  I brushed it off with my napkin, and it disappeared from view.

Glen goes nuts over spiders.  Arachnophobia is the correct term for his particular malfunction, which is common enough.  I don't suffer it myself.

If you've been patient enough to get this far, know that I'm headed for an anecdote from my misspent youth.  I was about 6 or 8 years old when I heard this one.


My parents had a couple they would have dinner with once a week.  Bob and Pete Guise lived a short distance away.  Pete's real name was Imelda, hence the nom de guerre.  Pete tended to be a heavy drinker and sometime party animal (this was in the 1950s, remember) and worked as a secretary.  Bob taught high school history, smoked a pipe and was a fairly reserved man.  His hobby was black powder shooting, and he made a few of his own flintlock rifles.

Bob was forever confiscating some trivial novelty from his students, and one day in the middle of George Washington and the Delaware, one of the girls in the back of the classroom let out a shriek that would loosen your fillings, jumped to her feet and did the crazy spider dance.  It seems that the little miscreant adjacent to her had a large, black rubber spider which he quietly placed on the edge of her desk while she wasn't looking, and... well, she saw it.  So Bob took the spider away from the brat and brought it home.  It was about the size of my palm, maybe a little larger, it was a nasty dark, dark, green color, and it was slimy looking.  Bob put it in the soap dish, in the shower, and under the bar of soap.

So when Pete got into the shower in the morning and picked up the soap - wah-hoo!  We got to hear all about it on Friday night when Bob and Pete came over for dinner, and the spider got passed to me with very stern instructions from Pete that she never wanted to see the thing again.

I took the spider to school with me - what else?  And I noted that my teacher's purse was black and quite large.  It was one of these purses that would double as an overnight bag.  She kept it on her desk, so without a second thought I contrived to walk past the desk, dropping off the spider on my way.  Black on black, I thought, would be hard to see until too late, and then it would be wah-hoo! time.

I was right.

I got sent to the principal's office with the spider.

I think it's appropriate to close with a song about girls, spiders, and snakes.



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