Spiders

Spiders

I read somewhere recently that no matter where you are in the world, there is almost undoubtedly always a spider watching you.

I think the point of this tidbit was that there are a whole lot of spiders in this world, and we shouldn’t be afraid of them, because they are all around us all the time and aren’t bothering us.

One might even be crawling on you right now, maybe in your hair or on the back of your leg, and that’s fine, right?

(You should probably stop to check now. It’s okay, I won’t judge.)

But of course that’s not how I read it.

Don’t get me wrong. I like spiders. Most of them anyway. When I was a kid, my mother told me that spiders are good luck, and a classmate told me that they are the smartest bugs. In retrospect, those points probably had more to do with Charlotte’s Web than any actual science, but the impression was made and I thought of spiders were both cool and smart.

The only times I’ve ever had this belief challenged were those times when the spider was really big and I was trapped with it in the bathroom. It’s hard to think positively of anything that’s invading your private time.

Since reading that, though, I’ve become a lot more aware of spiders watching me. I think they know I’m onto them, too, and are just messing with me. There’s one crawling on the painting behind my TV right now. Today there was one crawling at my office, hanging out on the computer cables. For the past week there’s been a fingernail-sized pervert living in my shower, just behind the shampoo. And today, as I had dinner on the balcony, a little orange guy hopped on my bike and watched me eat, as if pepperoni pizza were a perfectly normal part of the arachnid diet.

Were they always there, these spiders, just watching me as I went on my way, wholly oblivious to them? Or is this all some weird spider conspiracy to drive me crazy?

Do I even want to know?

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Courage

Courage

Theodore Lewiston served two tours in Afghanistan, where he was awarded a Commendation Medal but more more importantly earned the respect and gratitude of his unit for fearlessly engaging camel spiders.

Returning home, Theodore found work as a security guard that from time to time required him to be big and scary, sometimes towards people who were bigger or scarier than he. Just as with the camel spiders, he showed a cool exterior while adrenaline surged through his veins, his not-insignificant fear hidden behind a cool gaze and steady voice.

Nobody ever asked him but he liked to imagine someone–a grandchild, perhaps–looking at his various citations and asking him about courage. What was the hardest thing you ever did? Or, “What was the most courageous?” Nobody would ever ask it that. “What was the scariest thing you ever did?”

He had a ready answer, one that would seem characteristically calm and cool but would reveal itself in time to be profound true, he thought.

Continue reading “Courage”