|~ ~ With All Due Respect to Ralph ~ ~|
|By Johannah Hughes Turner, Literary Editor|
very word strikes terror into the hearts of millions.
to scholars, this reaction occurs only Western
European society. In many
other cultures, the spider symbolizes good luck and prosperity.
The fear, therefore, is not inborn in humans, regardless of eons of
uncomfortable cohabitation with the crawlies of creation.
note that in the Middle Ages, spiders were
associated with contamination of food and water and with infection.
Spiders inhabited, in great numbers, the same kinds of places rats
did, but it was the rats' fleas that vectored the Plague epidemics.
Yet, in spite of the original erroneous perception, the habit of
fearing spiders was handed down through the generation and persists in
another intriguing theory to explain our fear of spiders.
. Citing Savory (1964), Don Meehan of
the word: In Greek mythology,
Athena taught Arachne, a beautiful maiden, how to weave.
Arachne surpassed Athena in skill and achievement.
The outraged Athena slew Arachne, but then in remorse brought her
back to life as a spider so that she could continue her weaving.
symbolism is woven into our culture.
We all learned to recite, as children: O
what a tangled web we weave / when first we practice to deceive.
Nowadays, the premium software for constructing World Wide
"Web" sites is called DreamWeaver.
divide arachnophobes into two categories:
Monitors (who enter a room, search for spiders, and if they
spot one, keep an eye on it) and Blunters (who will do anything not
to see a spider that's standing right there in plain sight).
have a nephew who moves from room to room all night, from bed to couch, in
flight from spiders he can actually hear walking on the wall or the
ceiling. Yes, in his house
these spiders are all too real and they're big.
remember taking a very plump spider from a web in an upper corner of my
mother's doorway and casting it back into the wild, across the lawn.
Damned if that stubborn thing didn't use its eight legs to hike all
the way back to the house and build a new web in the same spot.
there was the time that I heroically didn't run from the huge orange
spider walking around on a beam over my head because I'd been charged with
saving the lives of baby pigs who were likely to be crushed against the
pen by their mother without my intervention.
had a dream about a spider that grew bigger and bigger before my eyes, to
where it was bulging from the wall, two or three feet wide.
I was terrified but for once in my whole life stood my ground.
While I sprayed it with lysol and
anything else that would come out of a pressurized can, I told it that no
matter what it looked like it couldn't be real and it wasn't going to fool
me. I told it that if it was
alive it had to die of the poison. It finally
crumpled, and I awakened victorious and free.
night in the Missouri Ozarks I allowed a wild hunting tarantula to walk up
and down my arms. It was
weightless and had those little clingy/pinchy things on its legs that made
it pleasantly feel like a Japanese beetle.
On that same trip I held a couple of brown recluses (found behind a
picture on the wall) in my hand. The
latter was probably a foolhardy act but I didn't get bitten by any of
you may have guessed by now, I am a recovered, self-cured arachnophobe.
a psychiatric disorder, arachnophobia can cause people to suffer not just
irrational crippling fear but also delusional states.
Somehow the idea that spiders are dirty
or germy gets into the personís psyche and transforms itself into fear
and disgust relating to filth, insect infestation, sexual penetration, or
current trend is to eschew expensive, long-term, elusive, and sometimes
dangerous psychiatric treatment, the kind that involves plumbing the
psyche for the meaning of the phobia to the individual and for the
early-childhood event/association that may have triggered the phobia, in
favor of more practical approaches involving gradual desensitization.
latest and most promising method makes use of virtual reality.
You wear a helmet and goggles.
Your virtual hand is in a virtual glove on a virtual table and the
virtual spider gradually comes closer until such time as you can allow it
to walk on your glove and "feel" it.
Arachnophobic children go willingly into this otherwise scary
treatment because they're fascinating by the equipment.
so you think there aren't any black widows or brown recluses, nor
even tarantulas, in your immediate environment. All
the same, look out for the Aggressive House
Spider (Tegenaria agrestis).
It is large and a fast runner.
It will bite when threatened, and the bite will cause blisters that
ooze and take months to heal and cause scarring.
You can distinguish the Aggressive House Spider from its relatives
by looking for a chevron pattern on its abdomen.
[Thanks again to Don Meehan, cited above]
to do if you're sitting on your tuffet eating your curds and whey, just
minding your own bidness, and along comes a spider?
Don't call Ghostbusters.
Reach for your trusty Spider
|Please email Johannah with your comments about Spider!|
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