Okay, here’s a shocker: I don’t like bugs. I don’t like bugs, and I don’t like spiders. I can handle lizards, frogs, even snakes, but if you are smaller than my hand and have more legs than my dog, you are my enemy. I loathe and detest you and every member of your family. I can deal with ladybugs and butterflies, and the occasional moth (as long as it isn’t the kind that dive bombs your head for no apparent reason). I don’t even like ants. I had an ant on my finger and I was showing it to my kids “See? Look at the little legs. God made this creature just like God made – HOLY $%&^! IT BIT ME!” Needless to say my kids will have some interesting therapy sessions when they get older since I cursed and squished the ant into oblivion right before their eyes. Then for a week afterwards I had a huge festering sore on my finger (since I am allergic to anything that bites), and Lorelei (the 4 year old) kept asking if God had given me that boo-boo on my hand for killing the ant.
For Halloween, I bought a dozen plastic spiders about the size of my palm to decorate our mailbox and front porch. The kids all loved them and played with them for weeks after Halloween was over. One day I was picking up the mess that is a constant in my house and I reached down and quickly grabbed what I believed to be one of the harmless plastic spiders from Halloween. It wasn’t. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Texas we have something called the Wolf Spider. These guys are basically harmless and eat bugs (which I applaud) but they are HUGE SPIDERS and therefore they must die. The one I grabbed rather aggressively asserted himself to not be made plastic by climbing out of my hand and up my arm. It really is too bad that there wasn’t a camera on me because I moved in a way that scientists would have had a hard time explaining. You probably would have had to slow down the film to figure out that I was flinging Mr. Counter Attack onto the floor and squishing him with my daughter’s favorite Dora the Explorer book. The amount of adrenaline that coursed through my system in the 2.8 seconds that this happened took hours to dissipate. I was shaking, little sweat beads formed on my upper lip, my pupils dilated, and my eyes were in constant movement. I am certain that I was more hyped up than a meth addict and probably twice as dangerous. Luckily, the kids were all at school when this happened so there was no witness to this total breakdown and I had mostly returned to normal by the time they had gotten home. I took a shower for about 45 minutes – until all of the hot water was gone – and I had to shake out my towel before I used it and every stitch of clothing before getting dressed (just to be sure no relatives were plotting their revenge and lying in wait for me).
In the late Spring there are literally THOUSANDS of these brown bugs called Japanese Beetles that flock towards any light source as if they are trying to cross over into some kind of bug nirvana. They fly around in a drunken stupor colliding with each other and anything else that may be in their vicinity. I do not know where they got their name, but “Japanese Beetle” seems a bit insulting to the Japanese – perhaps a better name would have been Kamikaze Beetles since they dive bomb my head, getting tangled in my hair and causing total devastation to my dignity. But you sort of expect to run into bugs when you are outside. I am deathly allergic to bees and wasps and yet, every time I am outside with a group of people they only buzz around ME – like I am some kind of flower or something. At which point I jump around like I am possessed or engaged in some tribal dance in order to avoid being stung. And I am sure we have all had our own encounter with the gnats that swarm around your head but you are the only one that can see them so you look like you are reacting to some sort of hallucination as you swat, bob and weave to try and get away.
I don’t know what it is about bugs, but it seems that the more you hate them, the more often you encounter them. Some of you will surely remember the story from last May when I was molested in my bed by a huge roach (if you don’t, feel free to go back and read it anytime), then there was the ant and the spider, and every year there are the beetles and the bees and wasps. Don’t even get me started on the mosquitoes that leave half-dollar sized whelps wherever they bite me or the weird little hopper bugs that invade my back porch ever year in the late Summer. You would think that with such an intense hatred for bugs, that I would welcome the presence of spiders. I mean, after all, they eat thousands of bugs throughout the course of their lifetimes. But the truth is, I prefer a good ole can of Raid – or a rather large shoe.