by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO- Have you ever been sitting reading a book, when out of the corner of your eye you see something on a controlled descent from the ceiling? When you look closer, you realize, IT’S A PARATROOPER SPIDER! AAAAK! OK guys will not admit they yell AAAAK, because they are tough and not afraid of a stupid little spider. But I freely admit that I yell AAAAK and maybe other things. If there’s one thing I do NOT want, it is a spider with a 360 degree range of motion and me being the only landing site in view. Yes, I can butcher a turkey, but I cannot stand having a spider crawl on me.
And, really, what can you do when the paratrooper spider comes gliding your way? If you catch it with your hand, it will surely bite you and your hand will fall off in three days. If you slam it in the book you’re reading, then you have this gooey mess of spider guts and legs on the page where you were about to learn who impaled the greedy Wall Street banker on a universal stock ticker.
Those of us who don’t use a lot of pesticides, usually rural dwellers because we’re too cheap to spend the money, are at greater risk for having a spider rappel down from the ceiling right in front of our face. This is a risk we accept, I suppose. And I’m not a spider hater or anything. For instance, I cannot stomp on a spider if he is minding his own business. He may possibly find an adobe bug one day and reduce it to a black and orange shell. That’s a good thing. But I’m not so sure spiders are all that innocent when they make that kamikaze leap from the ceiling. I’m wondering if a spider can actually SEE that there is a person way down there and think to himself, “I think I’ll give that lady a heart attack.” Although it’s hard to believe a spider’s brain (which is so small you need an electron microscope to see it) can be devious, on the other hand I’ve never seen a spider rappel down in front of my dog’s face. He would merely eat it and barf it up later on my new kitchen rug. Somehow spiders are calculating enough to know which of us of will yell AAAAK and which of us will eat them.
Now, are paratrooper spiders active at night? Please let me believe that they sleep all night on the ceiling and do not lower themselves into a snoring person’s mouth. Please let me believe that we do not swallow spiders in our sleep. And when I awake with a mouth as dry as cardboard, I would much prefer to believe that I had been snoring all night than to believe that some hideous creature had lowered itself from the ceiling and sipped all the moisture from my mouth and lips and then disappeared from view before the monster awoke. The mere thought of that would be almost too much to bear.