I am not a violent person. I’m pretty easygoing and good to get along with. I like (most) kids. I teach Sunday School. I like (most) animals. I prefer dogs, but will pet a cat when a dog is unavailable. I think I do a pretty decent job when it comes to following the seventh principle of Unitarian Universalism. I respect the interdependent web of existence of which humans are but a part.
However, as I write this I am on the hunt. There is a good sized spider somewhere in my office. The fly swatter lays on my desk next to the keyboard, ready to go into action at a moment’s notice. I’m not that afraid of spiders. I think cockroaches are much higher on the “oogy” scale. As a family, we’ve had outings; observing spiders in the wild. I’ve taken pictures of their webs dazzling in the sunlight, dew drops dangling from each thread. Lovely.
However, spiders need to realize their place in the interdependent web; it’s outside. Summer will be here soon. I’m sure we’ll have some pretty big spiders living among the slats of the fence out back. Last year we had a couple of garden spiders that were as colorful as Pepper, our rental parrot. I left them alone out there to spin their webs, catch their bugs and crawl around wherever they pleased. In the fall, if I found them in the house, they were dead. Worse, if they surprised me, they were dead and in pieces. There is a clear connection between how badly I’m startled and how extreme my prejudice is when it comes to spider killing.
I had a bad experience with a spider back in school. I worked long hours at a radio station and once I was too tired to make it back to my dorm. The large studio in the back was filled with old beat up furniture. I lay down on an avocado green vinyl couch and dropped off. I came to a few hours later with a sensation of someone lightly brushing my cheek. I opened my eyes to find a daddy longlegs working its way across my face. I realize it is bad form to judge an entire taxonomic order based on the actions of one daddy longlegs. In fact, daddy longlegs aren’t even true spiders; maybe I’m going after the wrong species.