I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes.

Posted by admin on June 27, 2011 in Defies Description |

I don’t have too many freaky phobias. I admit to never being fond of heights or falling. As such, my love affair with roller coasters, particularly those that spiral or loop, never came to be.

In the bug department, I do profess to having some fears. Totally unfounded, but they work for me. You see, I don’t like anything that has too many legs or no legs at all. Not all of them mind you. As we all know, my rules can be very fluid and while one creature may escape my wrath, another of the same ilk may be destined for doom.

For instance, all snakes are on my death watch. I don’t trust anything that doesn’t have legs, except worms. Worms have never bothered me, perhaps because they can’t bite me and kill me. Of course, there’s no such thing as a venomous snake in Washington. At least not on the west side of the state. The only snakes I saw as a kid were garden snakes. My brothers liked them far more than I. They would regularly terrorize me with them.

They would also tell me that if you a chopped a snake up, it would come back to life at sunset, the individual parts wiggling. I had to check this out of course. Machete in hand, my friends and I whacked one apart and sure enough, as the sun went down, the little snake parts started to wiggle. It was basic biology, but as a kid, it was magic.

In the spider department, I am only bothered by large spiders. In Washington, that means wolf spiders which were always in great supply in the house. They would regularly find their way into the house and bite me in the dead of night. That paled in comparison to the spider I found in my room in Moorea one night. It was huge. I thought I had gotten rid of it, but when I awoke in the morning, there was two bite marks on my chest, right over my heart. Thank god it wasn’t poisonous.

On that same trip to Polynesia, I encountered my first cockroaches. Hundreds upon hundreds of them in the shower in the middle of the night. I went in to go to the bathroom. As I did my duty, I sensed that the walls were moving. When I flipped the light on the wall of the shower was an oily brown. I ran to get my flip flops and promptly started beating them to death. Many scurried away, others weren’t so lucky and died at the hand of my quick flips. I felt sorry for the maid. In the morning, the shower looked as if I was filming a remake of Psycho.

In Florida it seems everything is trying to kill you. When I first got here, a caterpillar innocently dropped onto my neck. In Washington, this isn’t unusual. Who hasn’t adopted one as a makeshift pet for the day? This one was different. Within moments, my neck was on fire. A big welt formed, which then turned into an infected mess. It seems that some of the damned caterpillars here can be poisonous. How was I to know?

The same is true of snakes. There are 50 different species of snakes in Florida. Six of them can kill you, including the Southern Copperhead, Timber Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth and Coral snake. To me, a snake is a snake and they all deserve to die. I’ll kill first, ask questions later.

But no, when I lived at Green Acres I was told by the Ziffels that some snakes were good. They may look just like a venomous one, but they keep the yard free of rats. I was told you don’t want to kill a black snake. They are good snakes.

There is no such thing in my book. They are all evil. Anyone here in Florida watch movies like Anaconda, Python or Boa vs. Python? These aren’t cute little snakes and in my book, none of them are. For god sakes people, they don’t have any legs. How can you trust anything without legs?

Worse, people here even have a rhyme to tell a killer coral snake from its non-killing cousin. It goes like this: “Red touching black is a friend of Jack, Red touching yellow can kill a fella?” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to take the time to recall this little rhyme when a snake is coiled up, poised to strike. Let’s see, is it “Red touching yellow, kill a fella,” or “Black touching red, soon I’ll be dead.”

I guess I just wasn’t cut out to live in a state where things are out to kill you all the time. The good news is that there are no indigenous poisonous spiders in Florida. The bad news is there are two invasive species: the black widow and the brown recluse. How wonderful for me. Now that I live in a condo I don’t have to worry about these very much. But back on Green Acres, I’m sure they were all over the place. I’m only glad I never found one or I would have screamed like a little girl and probably peed my pants.

At the other end of my no legs-too many legs spectrum are centipedes. Now, I loved the Centipede video game when I was a kid. But down here, there are Florida blue centipedes and Caribbean centipedes that will bite you. They won’t kill you, but you’ll feel the sting for some time. Thankfully, I’ve never seen one of these here. Only millipedes, which I’m not really too fond of either, especially after finding 20 or so climbing all over me down in Key West during my re-enfakement days as a pirate. One minute you think your girlfriend is getting frisky with you, the next moment you remember she’s not with you and that something is crawling on you. Ackkkkkkk! Again, screamed like a little girl.

Yes, I am a chameleon when it comes to the animal world. I can play for hours with ants (all you need is a magnifying glass and the sun) but can’t handle a simple garden snake passing by. I figure God put me at the top of the food chain for a reason. And some day I will figure out what it is.

Out on the Treasure Coast, still itching from the no-see-um bites I got last night,

– Robb

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