I’ve always been afraid of bugs. Well, not so much afraid of as disgusted by. And it’s not just bugs that freak me out. Any vile little creature, particularly if it is outside of its natural habitat (which should be far, far away in the woods), will cause me to declare a state of emergency.
Yes, I know. To some of you, I may sound ridiculous. We’ve already established that I’m a big, blubbering, scaredy-cat baby. But I must have a few discerning readers who know I’m right. Critters are gross, and they don’t belong around people.
One time, when we lived in our old house, I saw a snake casually creep out from behind the TV and slither its way across my living room floor. I was home alone except for the baby sleeping upstairs, so I did the only logical, responsible thing. I called my husband and told him to come home that instant. In fact, I didn’t even need to tell him that.
Me: There is a snake in our house.
Him: Do you want me to come home?
He knows me so well.
Now, I’m not going to say that this is the reason we no longer live there, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Unfortunately, I have not completely escaped the bugs. (And yes, Smarty McSmartypants, I know that snakes are not technically bugs. But for simplicity’s sake, I’m calling all these little critters that give me the heebie jeebies “bugs.” Call it “poetic license.” They bug me, OK?)
Anyway, shortly after we moved into our new place, I was painting the basement and removed an outlet cover. Behind it, dead and deep-fried, was a mouse. I screwed the plate back to the wall, set down my roller, and promptly reported the news on Facebook. Many of my friends were sympathetic.
“Yes, thank you. It was fairly traumatizing.”
“We meant the mouse!”
“The mouse? It’s dead. It doesn’t care that I almost touched its mouse cooties.”
“But it probably fried to death!”
“Ick. Don’t remind me.”
So you can imagine my dismay when I learned last month that the Earth’s population of spiders could potentially eat all of humankind in one year. How do we know this? Two scientists named Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer decided to count up all of the spiders in the world and then calculate how many tons of meat they consume in a year. (PS. Human beings are meat now.) This may sound disturbing, but the study contributes valuable material to Germany’s Strategic Reserve of Stories to Frighten Children.
And that’s not all. The authors note that the global average spider density is about 131 per square meter. But that’s only an average. In certain “ideal conditions,” there could be up to 1,000 spiders per square meter. One thousand. If you’re an American, like me, you’re probably wondering how big a square meter is. Don’t worry, I’ve done the conversion for you. I’m here to serve you and your nightmares. One square meter is equal to 10.8 square feet. This means that my house contains about 325 square meters. Now, I don’t know what the “ideal conditions” for spider habitats would be, but I’m assuming that a house containing 400 pounds of human meat and infrequently vacuumed bedroom carpets would make the list. Therefore, science has proven that there are 325,000 spiders living in my home. Thank you, Science.
If you are lucky enough to live in a smaller home with fewer potential human victims, say a single anorexic woman with a scantly-fed cat in a freezing studio apartment, perhaps you are only living with 30,000 or so flesh-eating spiders. That is still a hell of a lot of spiders. There is nearly a 100% chance that a spider is watching you at this very moment. He is lying in wait. Sizing you up for his web. If you don’t feel a creepy tingling on your scalp right now, then I haven’t done my job.
Which brings me to another news item. Right here in my home state of Maryland, a couple found a live scorpion in their bag of baby spinach. Where the hell do you get a scorpion in Maryland? This critter was trapped inside a sealed bag of “triple washed spinach.” I don’t know about you, but I’m washing mine from now on. And inspecting every leaf individually. In fact, maybe I’ll start growing my own spinach in a scorpion-free environment. Though I do live pretty close to the scorpion-in-the-spinach people. Maybe spinach isn’t safe at all. Yes. Best to give up spinach all together, just to be safe.
And just in case you people in the rest of the country think you are safe from critter-infestation, I’d like to point out that just last week, someone dumped over 40 snakes in a WalMart parking lot in Arkansas. So you understand what this means? You could be completely surrounded by concrete and still encounter dozens of snakes because some sick prick decided to collect them and dump them right where you go to shop for cheap hotdogs and toilet paper. (Thank God it wasn’t a Target.) Detective Jack Hailey of the local police department astutely observed, “They were collecting them for this reason, and I don’t think that was the best thing to do at all.” No. Definitely not the best thing to do, detective.
No one is safe, anywhere. Spiders. Scorpions. Snakes. I used to laugh because a former co-worker was convinced that snakes could climb up out of his toilet and bite him in the butt. I now consider him a prophet.
So please, people, stay safe. I’m praying for you.
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