Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Scardy cat, scardy cat.

PJ has a post today about irrational fears of little critters. As with all of her posts, it's fun stuff so do go read it. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Welcome back. In the same spirit, I thought I'd talk about the one and only one critter I'm afraid of -- cockroaches -- and also tell a story about another critter -- spiders -- that I'm not afraid of, but had a ghastly experience with once. No, this kind of spider, silly.

First: cockroaches. I've been deathly afraid of cockroaches since the 1982 movie Creepshow. In Creepshow, a guy lives in a germ-free, cleanroom-type environment. Everything is sanitized and antibacterialized. But these damn cockroaches keep sneaking in. He tries to kill them with spray, but as we all know, cockroaches ain't dying by no spray. In the end, they kill him and live in his body. YUCK! So I started having nightmares about cockroachs. I'd dream I was in a big silo-type thing, standing with my arms widespread in the Jesus Christ pose, and the silo was filled with cockroaches. They completely covered me head to toe and kept crawling all over me. There were so many they were too heavy for me to move, so I just had to stand there with the roaches pressing down on me. Yeah, I'm afraid of cockroaches.

Second: the spider story. In eighth grade I went to summer camp with my best buddy of the time, Chuck. One day we went on a day-long canoe trip from our lake, through a winding marsh, to a neighboring lake. It was a splendidly adventurous trip. At one point along the route, however, we arrived at a road that crossed the marsh we were paddling through. We had two options: get out, lift the canoe and carry it across the road, or canoe underneath the road through the culvert that allowed the water to continue flowing. We of course chose the culvert.

In order to get through the culvert, Chuck and I had to get up a head of steam, then duck down into the canoe so our heads weren't decapitated. Once we got into the culvert and looked up, we saw literally thousands and thousands of spiders all along the metal. At first glance, I thought it was pretty cool. Chuck, however, did not. He freaked out and started yelling and kicking -- yes, kicking -- the spiders. This generated two results, neither of which were positive. One, it slowed down our momentum, which, had he left well enough alone, would have carried us all the way to the end of the culvert. Two, it caused many of those thousands and thousands of spiders TO FALL RIGHT THE FUCK ON TOP OF ME. I was screaming at Chuck to stop kicking, he was screaming at the spiders, and the spiders were scurrying about on top of me.

Then, when we were maybe half the way through, the canoe bumped into the side of the culvert and stopped moving forward. Chuck stopped kicking, thank God, and I managed to swipe most of the spiders off of me, but we were stuck there. "Dude, what do we do?" he asked me. I suggested we use our paddles to push against the side of the culvert, propelling us to the end. It worked quite nicely. Until we got to the very end, that is.

With daylight taunting us, we stopped once again right at the mouth of the culvert. The top edge of the culvert was bent down toward the water, causing the front top of the canoe to catch and halt our movement. We tried pushing as hard as we could with our paddles, but to no avail. The only option was to push the canoe further down into the water, lowering the top below the bent culvert end and allowing us to exit. Keep in mind, there are still thousands and thousands of spiders on the inside of said culvert.

Chuck and I wiped at the spiders directly above us, causing them to fall into our boat and on top of us, then pushed hard against the top. As we did so, spiders immediately crawled along our hands and down our arms, but we pushed until the tip was low enough, then shove the canoe out of the culvert and into the lake on the other side. We both jumped out of the canoe without a word and frantically brushed at our bodies to get the spiders off. After visualizing the spiders getting into our clothes, we stripped down to our bare-assed nothingness, through our clothes into the canoe, and swam along side it the rest of the way to the beach.

I'm still not afraid of spiders, really, but I sure as shit don't like them getting on me. And if I see a cockroach, I'll run away screaming like a baby.


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