A little while back, Beatty came tearing in the door, hollering at me to get my butt out to the front porch to check out a spider that was apparently very impressive.
Impressive does not do this spider justice. He was huge. And quite colorful. And magnificent. And so, so scary looking.
He was weaving this huge web in between the posts on my front porch; it was so beautiful that I couldn’t imagine killing him. Besides, killing this particular spider would have felt like killing a small mammal. He was THAT BIG.
So we left him to do his thing and he lived on my porch for a few days. Then – POOF – he was gone, just like that. Deep down, I really dislike spiders. A lot. I squash them every chance I get and I don’t feel one ounce of guilt.
This might be because of an incident that happened with Big Hands back when I was fourteen. I was visiting Tulsa during the summer, and we went to watch some fireworks outdoors. During the time we were sitting on the grass, somehow I was bit by a spider. Now, I didn’t know I had a bite until the next day when I woke up. The bite was near the lower part of my right thumb, and within 24 hours it really started to bug me. It was an itchy red bump which later started to ache. IT HURT.
After hearing repeated complaints about my bite, Big Hands looked at it and told me to put Calamine lotion on it. I did this religiously for another day or so until I went to my friend’s house for a sleepover. Thank god her father was a heart surgeon, because after twenty-four more hours I was favoring that right hand and arm and if anything touched it I would YELL. I had a red streak traveling up the inside of my arm. My hand was curled in a big, fat claw. The doctor father took a look at it and explained to me very calmly that I would have to go to the emergency room and have it lanced. And when he explained to me what lanced meant, I started to cry.
So my grandmother came to pick me up and took me to the ER where they cut open my hand. She watched in horror as they pushed and prodded while I screamed, and infection shot out of the cut two feet into the air. The doctors put me on penicillin and I had to keep the wound open and draining for three days. They were pretty sure that the nasty little bugger who bit me was a Brown Recluse.
This is why I squash spiders in my basement, and it’s also why I generally don’t trust my father with any kind of medical advice. Dad, I still love you. Even though the summer after the spider bite incident, you threw me off that big blue inflatable weiner at the lake and my teeth went through my bottom lip. And even though you told me that there was no such thing as having stitches in my mouth and I had to sit up at the lake for two more days with a jaw that wouldn’t open and close and freaky tissue blobs hanging out of my laceration. And even though your remedy for this mouth trauma was to tell me to gargle with SALT WATER. I’ve learned important medical lessons from all this.
LIKE GO TO A FUCKING DOCTOR.