When I was 8 or 9, I lived out in the country. Well, kind of out in the country – we lived on several acres of land, but we had neighbors that lived on our street and whose houses were not much more than a good stone’s throw away. I loved playing outside, and there were kids in the neighborhood about my age, so I played with them quite a bit. One particular day I was playing outside with a girl from across the street. We were playing in my driveway – I don’t remember exactly what we were doing, but it wasn’t anything active like throwing a ball or playing chase. I think we may have just been lying on the driveway looking at clouds, because I’m pretty sure I was lying down. Anyway, about that time a spider came crawling across the concrete of our driveway, and I promptly jumped up and ran away, probably screaming a little. The nice young girl from across the street looked at the spider, looked at me, and just smiled and stepped on the spider, killing it. I guess we kept on doing whatever it was we were doing, but I remember that later that evening, my grandmother and grandfather were talking to me, and they mentioned that they saw the whole thing go down through our front window. Then they got on to me for being scared of a little bug, and for letting a little girl – a girl younger and smaller than me – be more brave and kill the spider rather than doing it myself. And they were right – I saw danger coming and I practically threw this poor child in front of me to get out of harm’s way. But I hated bugs. I still do. And I hate this about myself.
Now, lots of people hate bugs – no one likes finding them in their food like I did yesterday (see my post about it). No one likes getting stung by a wasp or bitten by fireants either. But I absolutely hate bugs so very, very, very much. Some people are worse than me, but I ignore them and just shake uncontrollably while thinking about that stupid spider again.
You know many times I’ve been stung by wasps? Maybe twice in my life. I’ve been bitten by ants hundreds of times. And the truth is, I’m not too scared of these kinds of bugs. They all have 6 legs – it’s the 8 legged kind that have an odd power over me. It’s like adding the 2 extra legs adds more than just locomotive power and extra agility – it adds a new level of shock and awe that renders me defenseless. Most of the time I can handle spiders – give me a good sized shoe and a few seconds to gather myself and build courage, and I can go to battle with most any spider. Unless it’s a jumper, in which case screw it, I’m outta here. But the little buggers that really scare me are scorpions. Yes, those nasty little arachnids with huge pincers and a venomous stinging tail. If I find one of these in the house, you’ll see a “for sale” sign in the yard the next day. I hate ’em, I hate ’em, I hate ’em. And they don’t just build webs and eat bugs like spiders – no, they crawl around, get under your covers, crawl up onto your ceiling and fall on you. I have personally seen and heard of these things happen with scorpions:
- When I was in 8th grade, a scorpion had crawled up into the hand towel in our restroom. I washed my hands after, well, you know, and when I dried them, it fell out. Good thing I had just went, because I would have messed myself otherwise.
- A friend’s mother told me about how a scorpion crawled up into the hollow handle of her razor, and fell out and stung her when she was shaving her legs. Tricky little punk…
- My mother got stung one night by a HUGE scorpion that was hiding under her pillow. She just moved her hand up under her pillow while she was sleeping, and POP – it got her near her thumb. I’m pretty sure it had been planning that attack for weeks…
- I was taking a shower one time and one fell out of the shower curtain and was washed around in the tub. I, of course, thought only of learning to fly and flapped my arms in a desperate attempt to remove myself from the tub.
- When my brother was a baby, he was sitting on the ground when a big scorpion crawled by. Someone stepped on it real quick before it got to him, but it happened to be a momma scorpion with hundreds of babies on it’s back. They all scattered like roaches when the lights come on, many of which crawled directly on my baby brother and stung him several times. I think she was teaching her babies about bug-to-human combat.
And there are more stories that I’m probably too traumatized to actually remember. I really wish I wasn’t such a wuss when it comes to bugs. The last thing I want to do is somehow transfer this fear to my daughter through modeling it. But what can I do? This may be one thing I hate about myself, but I just don’t think I’m going to be changing any time soon.