Thinking about tarantulas

I hate them.  In fact I hate all spiders.  And now that we’re just six days away from our scouting trip to Ecuador, I’m thinking about them quite a bit.

If you’ve read my post on the day we set the trip, you know about the Ranger Rick Magazine incident.  But it goes even deeper than that I’m afraid.  As a kid, I was plagued by allergies.  In fact, I couldn’t have milk, eggs or flour for my first 13 years of life.  So I would find myself watching in awe as other little kids would come to my birthday party, strap on a cone hat, and eat “my” birthday cake & ice cream right in front of me.  Meanwhile, I would be given potato chips or something.  It was the early 70’s and there weren’t a whole lot of alternative food choices to be found.  Apparently nowadays we’ve figured out how to milk almonds, for the love of Pete.

At any rate, occasionally I would be so bold as to sneak a bite of ice cream from the freezer.  Or, perhaps while mom was showering, I would dare to put milk on my Cheerios instead of the usual grape juice.  Predictably, this would result in a full-on allergic reaction that pretty much resembled a head cold.  And that’s when my parents would load me up with a cocktail of allergy medications which–in the mind of an already imaginative little bastard–tended to cause hallucinations.

And what do you think I imagined while I was laying in bed at night with a wet washcloth over my nose to keep the endless snot-festival to a dull roar?   That’s right: Ranger Rick’s little 8-legged pals.

It didn’t matter how dark the room was, I could see them clear as day.  The one up there in the far corner, by the ceiling.  And his little buddy, waving at me as he crawled across my Mark Spitz poster.   Before you’d know it, one of them would give a whistle and every spider in the Greater Denver area would come running.  They would get into formation on my ceiling and start disco dancing.  Then came the grand finale when they would descend on individual webs, stopping just inches above my bed.  Giving me the oogly-boogly legs and clacking their mandibles at me.

At this point the decision would be made to scream bloody murder.

My Mom and Dad would fly out of bed, flip on the light, and ask what was wrong.  “Are you blind?” I would answer, incredulous, “Can you not see twelve-hundred spiders dangling all around the room?”

My Dad would walk right into the bedroom, the spiders parting to either side as if he were Moses himself.  He would sit down on the bed and say, “Those aren’t spiders.  Those are angels twinkling all around you, protecting you while you sleep.”

I would perform a quick follow-up inspection of the night’s accommodations and ask, “How’d you do that?”

Mom and Dad would shake their heads, tell me goodnight and leave the door open just the right amount.  Minutes later, me and my snot rag would be sound asleep.

And people ask why I’m so adamant about taking my now 82-year-old Dad with us!

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