JEFF VRABEL: The eight-legged freak some out
When it comes to most things creepy, I am a lightweight, a twerp, what kids in high school would refer to as “puddin’.”
I’m not a fan of gory horror flicks, I live in fear of stumbling across that “Delivery Room” show on cable, I watch the corpse-cutting-up scenes on “CSI” through my fingers, on the rare instances I stay in the room. When they showed us the live-birth video during our pregnancy classes many years ago, everybody thought I watched the video. I didn’t watch the video. I watched my desk, my chair, my shoelaces, the fluorescent lights above, the ceiling tiles, the spots on the floor, the spots floating around in my eyes, and the clock on the wall as it ticked slowly, ever so slowly, the crawling minutes away, but for the love of all things holy, I did not watch that video.
Within that context, I am also not a large fan of spiders. Spiders, on my list of Animals I Would Not Like to Encounter Alone in a Dark Room, Or, For That Matter, A Room Full of the Entire Roster of the Chicago White Sox at 2 p.m., rank somewhere high, right between moray eels, Portuguese men-of-war and orcs, which I realize are not real, but this is my list, and I’m not taking any chances. I read somewhere when I was very small that over the course of a year, the average person will, in his sleep, consume eight or nine spiders, depending on how long one sleeps and how much one’s mouth hangs open while doing so. I tend to snore a bit — and by “snore” I mean “make the sound a bloated rhinoceros might make while being murdered by a pack of Aboriginals” — so I’m guessing that in an average year I enjoy something on the order of 9,000 spiders, which is totally gross, but saves me all sorts of money on breakfast.
Anyway, when combined, these two items explain why I read the story about a young man named Jesse Courtney with some combination of fear, horror, and running into other rooms flailing my arms and screaming “Get it out get it out get it out!”
Young Jesse, who at the age of 9 possesses a degree of bravery I shall never know, found himself the subject of severe headaches, and if you ever read a story in your life you can see where this is going, and it’s not good, and if somehow your head has not started itching a little bit then you are a robot, a cold, soulless robot, and I wish you would teach me how to become one, because it’s extremely hard to type this with all the shaking I’m currently doing.
Because one evening, Jesse found himself detecting a faint popping in his ear — “like Rice Krispies,” he told the AP — and went to his doctor, who found not one but a fairly awe-inspiring two — TWO SPIDERS — living in his ear.
“They were walking on my eardrums,” Jesse said, a distinct difference from what I would have said, which would sound more like, “EEHAAAUUAUAUAUUAUAGH!” followed by four days of crying.
One of the spiders was nice and dead when a doctor flushed him from Jesse’s ear canal; the other was, astonishingly and wrigglingly, still alive. Both were about the size of a pencil eraser, or, in layman’s terms, pants-wettlingly huge.
Jesse took the spiders — now both dead, thank heavens — to school as a souvenir. As for me, it’s very late, and I’ve got a number of things to do before going to sleep tonight, like never eating Rice Krispies again and duct-taping my mouth shut.
Jeff Vrabel is a freelance writer who is quite masculine, thank you, when it comes to everything but spiders. He can be reached at his obligatory blog at www.jeffvrabel.com.