Everyone has a phobia of something. Some of us are afraid of the dark. Some of us are afraid of clowns. Some of us are afraid of llamas. Seriously, llamas. I was watching Maury one time and he had this chick on who was phobic of llamas. Like, he brought a llama out on stage and the girl just lost it. She was absolutely certain that the llama was going to attack her, sprout fangs, grab her by her neck-flesh and just go to freaking town before dropping her dead carcass at its feet and proceeding to devour her children and other loved ones. This didn’t happen of course… but if it had, it would have been the best damn episode of Maury EVER.
So, yes, everyone has phobias… including me. But mine is an ordinary, common (even dull) phobia. I have arachnophobia. Yep, I am ridiculously scared of spiders. I see a spider, I freak. And here’s the thing, I’m not a delicate girly-girl. Nope, I’m a tough broad. But those eight-legged horror shows have got my fear number. And here’s the other thing, as I’ve gotten older, the phobia has gotten worse. It used to be, “Oh shit! A spider!!” and I’d step on it. But now, I have the irrational fear that the damn things will bite through my shoe and plunge their massive fangs into my foot, and then my foot will start to dissolve into a massive, open, gangrenous wound because the spider had acid for venom and then my foot will have to be amputated in a last ditch effort to stop the poison from reaching the rest of my body, so I’ll be footless for the rest of my life and my less-sensitive friends will call me gimpy, and if I’m ever attacked by another spider, I will be powerless to stop it, because I don’t want to lose my other foot.
So you might be wondering, “Gosh, Jen, what on earth happened to make you so afraid of spiders?” Well, gentle readers, I shall tell you.
When I was four-ish years old, my family and I were driving across the mid-west. I don’t remember why. I was four. But there we were, in the family VW Bug (sky blue) and cruising on the interstate. Somewhere in the middle of our journey, my father spied something crossing the road. Something worth stopping for; something worth terrifying and scarring his daughter for life with. So we pulled off to the side of the road, and dad hauled me out of my car seat and carried me over to the thing. The thing turned out to be A GIANT FREAKING TARANTULA!!!!! So my dad thought it would be great to crouch down with me in his arms and get a really good look at it up close. Which he did. And I was not happy. The eight-legged behemoth started crawling right for us – and I’m freaking out and trying to disappear into my dad’s armpit and my dad is just squatting there saying , “Look, Jenny, a spider!” like it’s the neatest thing ever. Meanwhile, did I mention, the thing is coming right for us!?! Scarred. For. Life.
To this day neither of my parents take my arachnophobia seriously. They think I’m just being melodramatic. Especially my dad. Especially when I freak out over tiny spiders. He’s like, “Oh, come on, it’s tiny!” And then I have to define “phobia” for him for the bazillionth time. A phobia is an irrational fear. Key word IRRATIONAL. A phobia spits in the face of logic, much like a llama just spits in your face. And then I have to remind my dad whose fault my little phobia is. HIS. And for years he has contested just how big the tarantula was, and just how close we were to it. But, now, ha-HA!, in a recent development, my dad has conceded (somewhat) to The Event, because he came across evidence so undeniable, he had to share it with me.
You will note in my retelling of The Event, that I don’t mention my mother. Where was mom while all the carnage was being done to my psyche? The answer: behind the camera! Yep, she documented the whole thing! Or at least one still-frame of it. And here it is, the evidence of The Event:
You will note the distance between dad and I and the BEAST is at BEST three feet. That’s damn close. You will also note the size of the thing. That sucker is huge!! Now imagine it from the viewpoint of a four year old being held against her will and forced to watch as the scariest thing ever is coming right for her! See how I am desperately trying to cave in on myself in a last ditch effort at self-preservation?
I rest my case.
Thanks a lot, dad.