Spider Man
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“Don,” my wife will say. “There’s a spider on the bathroom ceiling. Would you take care of it?”

Women, in general, are soft, kind, caring creatures. They shun violence and empathize with all living things.

Except spiders. When those little critters emerge in our homes, women become a strange amalgam of Little Miss Muffet and General Patton. When my wife asks me to “take care” of the eight-legged visitor to our bathroom, she doesn’t expect me to feed it a bowl of warm soup or read it a bedtime story. She wants it crushed, killed, expunged, and preferably flushed.

I often wonder why. I suspect most guys are like me: we see a spider on the wall and we think, Hey, there’s a spider on the wall. But we know that the best (i.e., easiest) course of action is to walk away. In an hour or two, the spider will have moved, out of sight and way out of mind. Problem solved.

Now, I’ll admit that some bug species give me the creeps. The sight of a monster cockroach running across the floor is enough to send my fight-or-flight response off the charts. There are roaches, I’m sure, that would qualify for the Boston Marathon. But spiders, on the other hand, are slow, poky, ponderous little guys, and I’m pretty sure I could outrun one.

Women could too, if they tried. But no, an immediate death sentence is the only answer. Here’s a typical story. The nice lady who sits in the next cubicle at work once startled me with this announcement: “Yuck! There’s a spider in my phone, right in that space where you hang up. Ugh!” I heard her tell a few other people about it, then all became silent. As the minutes ticked by, my tension increased. I had to find out.

“Uh, Diane?” I asked over the cubicle wall. “Where is the spider now?”

“Crumpled up in a tissue in my wastebasket,” Diane said matter-of-factly, then smiled in a guilt-free, Miss Muffet/General Patton sort of way.

The horror.

If only women could see this side of themselves. If only…wait, here’s an idea!

I got it from a movie -- a cute kids’ film called Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. In it, the shrink-ray inventor’s wife spies a Daddy Long Legs lounging peacefully on her kitchen wall. Naturally, she wants it dead. She prepares to attack. But then the phone rings and Daddy slips away.

Later, she is accidentally reduced to a fraction of her former height and encounters the same spider, now a towering giant spider. The spider does not attack her. The woman chats with it and in return, the spider gives her a lift from the floor to the nearest countertop. She thanks Daddy profusely and comes away with a better understanding of her tiny houseguest.

So here’s my idea: we take all of the world’s women, shrink them down (temporarily, of course), and have them rub elbows, hobnob, and banter with a spider or two. Just think of the good this will do. Spider persecution, like the witch hunts, will become a thing of the past. Women can return to their inherently gentle ways.

And guys like me can finally finish the sports section in peace.

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