I've never been a fan of spiders. I'm pretty sure no one is.* But after living for six months in an old house that apparently doubled as spider paradise, I discovered that arachnids come in two types: spiders and SPIDERS.
I was introduced to this concept the first time I moved my towel off the back of the bathroom door and a spider the size of a baseball ran away. The pencil eraser-sized spiders that used to send me shrieking didn’t even seem related to the monstrosities that lived in that house. Any spider that you can hear coming is just a whole different level of awful.
In case you believe that tiny spiders require violent squashing, let me educate you. Spiders can be ignored, moved outside on a piece of paper or inside a Dixie cup, or squished in a tissue. SPIDERS, however, are an entirely different ballgame.
The main difference between spiders and SPIDERS is size. You might assume that overall size, particularly referring to length of leg, would be the determining factor in a spider's degree of awfulness, but that's not the case. It's not about length; it's about width. A fat spider is a terrible SPIDER.
Your average, garden-variety, live-in-peace-with spider is largely defined by either a very small size overall or extreme thinness.
Keep in mind that the spider being depicted here is magnified so that you can see his pleasantly round body and imagined cute smile. But even if this spider was of an angry persuasion, he'd still be unlikely to scare anyone.
(He sort of looks constipated.)
SPIDERS, however, are very different. Aside from their larger-than-dental-floss leg width, they often have enough substance to show off their non-circular body and their particularly offensive body hair.
(This image really freaks me out. I bet I have a nightmare tonight.)
SPIDERS often have the ability to run across walls, ceilings, and, most horrifically, the photo of your great-grandma hanging above the sofa. In the dark of night, they stroll carelessly down your hallway as if they own the place. Because they do.
Defeating a SPIDER is tricky business. The tried-and-true foot-stomp method is risky. You have to get very close to a SPIDER to administer this technique. What if you miss? What if somehow the SPIDER crawls up your leg instead?
Maybe. But laws of pesthood may not apply to a SPIDER. Do you really want to take the risk?
The rolled up newspaper method also frequently fails on SPIDERS. Their sheer magnitude can defeat the newspaper's fragile flexibility. You do not want to defiantly smack a SPIDER with the Sunday comics only to find him smiling back up at you as you withdraw from combat. Or worse, you might find him crawling up
your weapon and then, quite possibly, onto your hand. HORRORS!
Spider spray is your best defense against these creatures. Unfortunately, your aim must be absolutely true since arachnids rarely succumb to pesticides delivered in their vicinity. It's right on or it's nothing. A direct hit will deflate a SPIDER like a cheap balloon and leave him curled in a satisfying, disgusting wad at your feet (of which you will unfortunately have to dispose). A near miss might knock him down, but then he'll unfold and run away (I've actually seen this happen). Will you be reaching for him with your wad of paper towels at the moment he revives?
I feel certain that you do not want that to happen to you. Aim well and saturate the area. You can figure out how to get spider spray off your wall/table/clothes/floor/fish tank later. (Note: you will not be able to remove spider spray that falls inside your fish tank. You will, however, later get to buy all new fish.)
What if you run out of spider spray or the spray doesn't work? If this happens, your only hope is to use your spider spray in a way it was never intended: grab the can and beat the ever-loving-shit out of that SPIDER. Your adrenaline and frustration will override your fear of the SPIDER running up your arm and you will be victorious.
**Those people are freaks.
My husband thinks that my original drawings for this article added a certain charm. So, here they are... the original spider, angry spider, and SPIDER. In all their... uh... glory. Which are better -- the ones above or the hand drawn ones below?
How awesome are those fangs? :)