Along Came a Spider

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How scary is it, really?

Suppose you pass by a house and you hear a child screaming and a grown man yelling, repeatedly, “Why don’t you die?” Naturally, you call the cops. And naturally they come, hoping they’re on time to prevent a murder.

Such was a recent incident in Perth, Australia. Only it wasn’t a murder. The man in the house was yelling at a spider he was trying to kill, and the child was freaked out by the scene. There was nothing for the police to do. (

Hello? Hello? Anybody home up there–up in the old cranium?

All right, Australia has some pretty nasty spiders, and apparently this guy had an uncontrollable fear of them. Somehow he wasn’t able to dispatch the spider right away: sounds like he was too scared to see straight, and probably kept missing when he went to clobber the spider. I’m pretty sure I would’ve screamed, when I was three years old, if I saw my father carry on like that. But of course he wouldn’t have–not for all the tea in China.

Ah, the nooze…

Do you ever get the impression that there are all these little cracks in our culture, spreading out in all directions–like when a sheet of thin ice on a frozen pond is just about to give way under you? You’ve only just noticed, and you also notice that you’re two or three steps farther from the shore than you want to be, just now.

It’s only a man panicking over a spider. No big deal.

Or so we hope.