Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Sword of Darwin

I haven't posted in a while, because everything here alternates between ennui and icky gross ~feelings~ about moving that I don't want to talk about. But today I killed a spider, and I thought, well, people blog about even sillier stuff than this, why not? Also, there's precedent.

I am in the minority about spiders in the house. Most people, I think, kill all spiders on sight. But I try to live in peace with spiders. Unlike yellowjackets or cockroaches, spiders have a place in the world. That place is outside, or up in the rafters of a barn, and preferably not inside my house. But if they do come in, they are welcome to stay if they follow a few simple rules.

  1. The spider must be no larger than a quarter (preferably, no larger than a nickel) with all its creepy bitey arms outstretched.
  2. The spider, if it is a web-builder, must create and maintain a web at ceiling level.  Corners are best.  Corners near lights are ideal, so the spider can eat the little bugs that fly in and buzz around the light.
  3. If it is a wolf spider, it must FFFFF STAY THE HELL OFF OF ME.  Nothing makes me scream and do the Spider Dance like a damn nickel-sized wolf spider running across me on the couch.  

The Tub Spider this morning broke all the rules. I first noticed Tub Spider when it was behaving properly - up in the corner of the bathroom ceiling, not too large, chilling out. It seems paradoxical to approve of a spider in the corner of the bathroom ceiling, considering one is often naked in there and the spider could snap and leap upon you at any moment, but think about it: you've got all your weapons at hand. If you're in the shower, the water protects you. If not, you've got the makings of a protective Toilet Paper Mitt at hand. And if all else fails and it does go all rabid-dog on you and you panic, there's something you can squirt at it from the cabinet under the sink. Bathroom spiders are safe spiders.

But this morning the Bathroom Spider had molted, grown to the maximum permissible size of a quarter, and had moved house to spin a web in the tub. No sir.

It should be obvious that I don't like to kill things, even large uppity spiders. But I consider myself to be acting as the Sword of Darwin. Nature is red in tooth and venomous-fang. Creatures that are evolutionarily unsuited to where they end up get killed. If I kill every spider that migrates from the ceiling corners to the bathtub, eventually over many spider generations I will help create a less-than-quarter-sized species that ONLY lives in the corners of the ceilings. They will eat gnats and mosquitos, thus allowing me - and YOU! - to sleep better at night. I am doing a service for the world.

So I calmly grabbed a dustpan, dispatched the spider, made a small toilet paper glove, and threw it away. I didn't scream even once.

Now, if I can just keep it together when I have to crawl under the house and turn the swamp cooler water line back on...

43 comments:

  1. I love your musings! The logic here makes plenty of sense to me!

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  2. I love you.

    Also: I have the same spider rules. I've never really thought them out before, but those are exactly the same ones I have.

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    1. Ditto. I had one running around the shampoo bottle and I was like "oh no you don't" *squish*

      (ok, there was screaming too because my shower is VERY small and there is not much room to maneuver, but that's just between you and me)

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    2. Those are my spider house rules too. I used to let them live and be relocated if they were a bit bigger, until I moved the SAME funnel web spider out of my house 3 times. The last move, I used a glass and realized I could see it's fangs. The next time it was inside, in the tub again, I used half a bottle of spray cleaner to drown it's scary self. *shudder*

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  3. AMEN. I agree 154% with everything you have stated. And I'm always SO proud of myself when I don't scream/squeal/run from the room in fright. ...but no one is ever around to witness and appreciate my monumental accomplishment!

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  4. Haha, I've blogged about spiders before too, so totally cool! I am, however, in the category of people who believe death comes to all house spiders! Spiders are to live outside. It also doesn't matter if they are inside or out, they can induce irrational panic at any time which can include a great deal of gratuitous swearing.

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  5. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    OMG thanks, I needed that laugh. I had a SCORPION IN MY HAIR yesterday morning. Normally I'm like, "Oh, a scorpion," *SQUASH REPEATEDLY WITH SHOE* but after that, I'm totally creeped out.

    Spiders ain't no thang, even if they ARE bigger than a quarter. I'll trade you spiders for scorpions...

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    1. No, keep your devil hair-scorpions!

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  6. Good to know that I'm not the only one that has a complex set of spider rules! I have another rule that spiders aren't allowed to live over doors that lead to the outside - I've had too many zipline down when I open the doors in the morning...

    Tub spiders never fare well in my house either. I'm getting better at squashing them without freaking the eff out. Any that are foolish to venture out on the main floor off my house often get eaten by cats so that helps.

    One night a few weeks ago, I had a bunch of terrible spider nightmares, then found a spider in the tub the next morning! Ugh.

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  7. Oddly enough, I have blogged on a spider, too. It was not even dime sized, but "lodge" rules are different than "house" rules.

    He got squished.

    "Sword of Darwin". THAT MAKES ME HAPPY!

    Bill

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  8. Totally agree but would add corollary to rule #3:

    No spiders in the bed - ever! Sometimes they ride in the house on sheets that were line dried.

    Aren't wolf spiders the ones that carry around their egg sac, and their babies around on their large segments? They look fearsomely spikey, but it's just dozens of tiny spiders riding around. I cut wolf spiders some slack because of this maternal element. :)

    Hope the icky feelings subside...

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  9. I like spiders, but I transport them outside if the cats don't get them. I hate Miller moths, which are torturing me at night as I try to read in bed. Ugh!

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  10. I'm with you. I don't kill em unless I feel I must. Too big, in the bed...etc. I kill every black widow I see. I tolerate daddy longlegs and pretty much any non-poisonous spider (in house or out) who stays out of my personal space.
    You are so much fun to read...keep writing--about anything.

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  11. Yeah, I'm with you on spiders....but what about ticks?! I think ticks are the ewwwiest of all. They are stealth and they way they feel when they are crawling on you is just so....I gag thinking about them. I had to take 3 huge ones, the size of grapes, off of my dog's ears. Needless to say, when spring comes now....the dogs get shaved...so I can find the ticks before they look like grapes. Ugh!!!!!!

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    1. Ticks are HORRIBLE. I hate them so much :(

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    2. Omfg ticks are living horrors that need to go back to whatever lovecraftian province produced them.

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  12. LOL! I JUST saved a spider by picking it up and throwing it outside. I felt bad for it, it was obviously terrified and was about the size of an eraser. I'm generally o.k. with spiders, but then again I'm from R.I., where not a single species of harmful (to humans) spider can be found. When I found out that Iowa has brown recluses I got a bit more leery of them.

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  13. You crack me up!! I have but one rule for spiders... stay the hell out of my house or face the consequences. It's challenging for me to kill them, though, because even with a toilet paper glove, I'm technically still touching the spider and that makes me scream with terror.

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  14. Sword of Darwin and uppity spiders... bwahahaha love that.

    I'm pretty sure we don't have wolf spiders here, then I asked Mr Google and found out I may be wrong. ick

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  15. Your wolf spiders are only nickel and quarter sized? Ours are about triple that size!

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    1. Hush. I haven't seen any huge ones out here, but we had tarantula-sized wolf spiders in Memphis. I don't know if I'd be cool with a Shelob-sized wolf spider living under my couch.

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    2. I had one that was tarantula-sized in my carport. Also, she was covered in about a billion little baby spiders... that would allll grow up to be big, huge, giant spiders like their mother. *SHUDDER* I couldn't be responsible for that many deaths, so I escorted her (and all billion or so babies) far, far away.

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    3. PS. Can we talk about rainbows and unicorns for a while now? Please?

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  16. My poor husband (220lb second-degree blackbelt) is terrified of spiders of all sizes and types. If he sees one, he will beg me to kill it for him. I suck 'em up in the dustbuster, and immediately empty it outside. They probably all die anyway, but at least I don't have to crunch them!

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  17. Also, you lived in Memphis? I did a summer internship there in 2004. I lived in a building with no spiders (probably because the rats ate them all).

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    1. Yup, that's where I'm from! Olive Branch, actually. :)

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  18. I had no idea you had pet spiders too!!! my theory is that if the spider is there it is eating something that i can't see and THAT is icky/creepy/things night mares are made of. the other day i found one of those creepy fluffy centipede things and if i find out that thing was eating spiders, they all gotta go!

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    1. Exactly. Centipedes give me the heebie-jeebies, I'd get rid of them on general principles.

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  19. Bahahaha!!!
    I laugh at spiders while I squish them. It also helps that I don't get all ewww about them as my hubby does. He hates them.
    And they are not allowed in my house. They get squished. Actually I squish them wherever I see them. Lol.

    Jen
    quarterhorsedressage.blogspot.com

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  20. I love my "pet" spiders, I do warn squeamish city folk about them. They're mostly the long-legged harvesters. Very few get killed around here though, even tub spiders. I try for catch and release (trap them in a cup). Now centipedes, that's another story...ewww...

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  21. Oh, and I totally thought "Sword of Darwin" was a new fantasy book you were recommending!

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    1. HAHAHAH it should be!

      Mini-review: I just read Cat Valente's Deathless. A Soviet retelling of a traditional Russian fairy tale. So good, and so sad. Russia is so grim. Highly recommended!

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  22. It is my desire that spiders be evoluntionarily APPALLED and DNA imprinted against living indoors. What purpose is an indoor spider anyway? Spiders are "almost" as repulsive as s-s-s-nakes. You notice I say almost. I can wad up toilet paper and dispatch the spider, stomp on it wearing flip-flops, while screaming EEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEE! Snakes? Not so much.

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  23. ah, yes, I have the Spider Rules too. I try to remember good spider karma, but that's only if they don't break the rules. Since I got my own little trailer the rules have become much stricter. Like, they have to be the size of a pinhead, and they still get tossed outside. any larger up to the size of a penny, i'll try to catch them and throw them outside. any larger, SORRY. you have the WHOLE OUTDOORS and yet you have to move in with me. uh uh. any bigger than that - SMASH AND REMOVE! Them's the Spider Rules.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

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  24. do you really have wolf spiders there? i always thought we had wolf spiders in seattle but they turn out to be "common large housespiders". wolf spiders are the ones whose reflective eyes gleam at you when you shine a flashlight. i've never seen one and i never want to. the common large housespider is so freaking horrible - but i did a blog post about them because we have them here in germany too. i included links to images that i cannot look at right now because they're so horrible. i cannot abide any spider no matter how small. funny you should post about this today because earlier i was thinking how we need more charlotte's web type books and less shelob-CGI in movies.

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  25. I used to share an apartment with a big guy from work who was *terrified of spiders*. I used to put them humanely outside as he pleased for them to be terminated.

    Now I have a cat who catches spiders and eats them. He seems to thrive. Now he has a taste for moths too.

    To take your mind off the spiders here is a riding challenge. Have a look at this post http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/562-biked-any-good-maps-lately and see what shapes you can ride and record on your GPS.

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    1. That's really cool! You could make some awesome freeform shapes out here in the desert... hmmm...

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  26. I got a comment email notification that GreyDrakkon said:
    "Omfg ticks are living horrors that need to go back to whatever lovecraftian province produced them."

    and while I TOTALLY AGREE with this sentiment, the actual comment isn't showing up in blogger for me to approve. SIGH.

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    1. That might be the fault of my kindle fire, sorry. :(

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  27. I have similar house rules for spiders - small, out of my way, and they'll have no trouble with me. The one exception is in the bedroom - spiders on the ceiling when I go to bed get the toilet-paper-mitt treatment. I do NOT want a renegade spider dropping down into bed with me while I sleep. No matter how small it is.

    We get our share of daddy-long-leggeds here. My cat Allie calls them 'treats on stilts'. She loves them.

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  28. Spiders on the wall: NBD.
    Spider that used to be on the wall and now is not on the wall and thus has gone...uh....wth did it go: Big. Fat. Hairy. Deal.

    Or so my family would have me believe.

    I'm fine with spiders of all sizes and locations (exc. Brown Recluse-those suckers are NASTY and get to meet the Vacuum Cleaner God immediately). Snakes also, NBD (we don't have bad snakes in the Swamp, and no poisonous spiders either except the aforementioned Brown Recluse).

    OTOH, earwigs and ticks >shudder< turn me instantly into a screaming little sissy-girl....

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  29. roflmbo!! Funniest post I've read in a long time!!

    ~Lisa

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