Jewish World Review July 7, 2004 / 18 Tamuz, 5764

David Grimes

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Along came a spider and sat down beside her | First let me just say, in my defense, that it was early in the morning, the light was not good and I was not yet fully awake.

So, in all likelihood, the spider was not really the size of a Frisbee, it did not have blood-red fangs and it was not in the process of swallowing a whole, live squirrel.

But when you stumble groggily into the bathroom, snap on the light and are suddenly confronted with a black, eight-legged throw cushion staring down at you from the top of the shower stall, well, your mind can start playing tricks.

The first thing that crosses your mind when you go face to spinneret with a spider the size of a steel-belted radial is: This is not really the way I planned to go. Sure, living out your final years in a nursing home where the high point of your day is the diaper change is not that great. But it beats being a late-night snack for a hissing, steroid-enhanced arachnid the size of the governor of California.

The second thing that crosses your mind is: Are there any others? Given a flame thrower, a 12-gauge shotgun and a stout rolled-up magazine (National Geographics work best), you might stand a chance against one of these babies. But if its extended family is lurking under the toilet seat, plotting world domination, you may as well resign yourself to the fact that you're doomed to be a canape.

But I like to think that I handled the situation well, or at least as well as a situation can be handled that involves a spider the size of a manhole cover with a basset hound in its jaws. In fact, I did what any red-blooded American male would do in similar circumstances: I ordered my wife to come into the bathroom and kill the spider.

And, no, despite what it might have said in the police report that was filed after I made the 911 call, I was not sobbing at the time. My voice may have sounded a little high-pitched and strained, true, but I was not openly weeping, nor was I curled in a fetal position in a corner of the bathroom next to the toilet brush. (Why would I do that? There could have been another spider there.)

Again, in my defense, I don't think my wife ever got a good look at the spider. If she had, she never would have attempted to pinch the thing in a Kleenex and flush it down the toilet. Also, the spider might have

been a trifle lethargic given the fact that it had just consumed an entire wild hog. If the thing had been fully alert, she could easily have lost an arm.

"This is the enormous spider you've been screaming about?" she asked. (Again, to set the record straight, I was not screaming. I was simply speaking emphatically in a somewhat agitated voice. There's a big difference.)

So, obviously, most of the credit in this early-morning, life-or-death struggle belongs to me. I held the spider at bay with nothing more than an aspirin bottle for protection until reinforcements arrived in the form of my wife and her tissue. (The next time weapons of mass destruction are discussed, I would definitely place Puffs on the list.)

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So, physically, everyone is fine. But emotionally well, that's another story.

After the spider episode, my wife made herself a cup of coffee and sat down to read the morning paper. It was clear to me that she was deep in denial.

As for me, I stood in the bedroom for some time, trying to summon the nerve to pull on my pants.

Because you never know what might be lurking in a trouser leg.

But I bet it would go for a big, juicy steak.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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