26 June 2005

Fear and the Four Year Old

My wife and I have worked consciously to ensure that our personal fears do not become adopted by our children (4-yr old boy and 2-yr old girl). For the most part it has worked. I hate spiders. Loathe them. No shoe is big enough for the spiders of the world. The existence of spiders has, at times, challenged my faith (how could a loving God create spiders).

My favorite season of the year has always been Autumn, but my growing realization that September is the time in Georgia that massive arachnids choose to stretch their massive webs from tree to tree has made the onset of the season bittersweet. Last September these spiders decided to invade the exterior of my house. They come out at night, stretch their webs, pack up after sunrise and then wait till dusk to begin their evil enterprise again. I leave my house for school before sunrise (or spiderfall as I call it in September). Apparently, the two pines trees in my front yard became the gateposts of a spider hellmouth. They stretched webs from the trees to the front of my house so that their webs would dangle above my sidewalk like a gauntlet of swords' of Damocles. I would run the gauntlet only to find that others had stretched their odious nets across the driveway to the dogwood on the other side, happily bouncing in the Autumn breeze above my car. Having had enough, I went to my local Ace Hardware store (they still have them, I love it, they are friendly, helpful and have all of the unusual parts you won't find at the Big Orange Box or Big Blue Box) and purchased an industrial-strength can of wasp spray, guaranteed to kill up to twenty-five feet. I needed that kind of reach, as some of them were very high in the trees. The next morning I went to work. Before the sun rose I donned cap, grabbed a high-powered flashlight, and completely freaked out my neighbors by performing an elaborate spider-exorcism dance, or so it must have looked to them. I would hold the spider in the center of the beam and then soak it and its web with foam. It was a beautiful death. Each line of the web, coated with foam, gleamed in a poisonous frost. The spider ran excitedly about the web, perhaps thinking that thousands of tiny white bugs had been miraculously, simultaneously delivered to her web by her demon-lord. Then she would drop a bit, the poison sinking in to every pore. She would spin, flinging flecks of the killing foam off in every direction. I would whisper, "Die daughter of Shelob" and hit it again. It would drop another couple of feet as its rate of spin picked up. I would hit it again. This would continue until the great carcass of the beast would lay shriveled and wet in the bed of pine straw beneath the tree.

I went through three bottles of wasp spray last September. I know I got at least fifteen of the buggers. I rationalized the slaughter by telling my self that I was "making the yard safe for famocracy".

All of this was to explain to you my joy, when on Wednesday evening, when, from my office, I heard my daughter saying, "ants, ants, ants". My daughter uses the word "Ants" for any bug so I knew she had spotting something. I came out of my office to the living room and, crawling across the carpet, I saw a small spider. The adrenalin immediately began to flood my system and I prepared to engage in an emergency spider-hunt. I stepped back...no one was panicking. My daughter was assaulting it with a doll's shoe, and my son's weapon of choice was a massive volume of Harry Potter (I wonder where they learned these methods of bug disposal?). My daughter's attacks were vicious, but poorly aimed while my son's were on target, but non-lethal. Neither one was afraid. This was a business transaction. They would make a tag-team assault, withdraw, examine the target with interest, and attack again. I was about to step in and take care of the problem myself when my one of daughter's wild swings finally connected. The spider was splattered, with no fear, no crying, and no calls for help. They grow up so fast. I was so proud.

Maybe this is some kind of anti-PETA website.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does this mean I don't have to be brave anymore? Is it wrong to let your children kill the bugs for you?