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Along came a spider and sat down beside her …

Submitted by on Sunday, 11 January 2009 2 Comments
By and large, bugs don't bug me at all.

The one exception: When I was roughly 13 months pregnant with Big Guy (not really - it just seemed like it) and a black widow found its way to the bathtub. I couldn't move quickly enough to get out of its way. Couldn't move at all, for that matter. My whale-like shape left no room to maneuver.

I yelped for Dad. Problem solved.

Maybe that prenatal moment explains why Big Guy is the way he is, shrieking the second he sees anything with more than the obligatory two legs and without fur. I was tempted to describe it as "shrieking like a girl," but I've never shrieked in my life. Yelped occasionally, but never shrieked.

Boots is the opposite, taking great delight at all creatures small, though the great ones terrify him. He Velcroes himself to my legs the second a dog bigger than he. "Buggies" are his friends, though.

Boots finds ample tiny buddies in our neighborhood, which could double as the set for "A Bug's Life." Dad used to blame frequent ant infestations on my cake-decorating habit, but that didn't explain why neighbors who seldom bake also are invaded.

Presenting him with that evidence, we signed a contract with an exterminator.

That went against the grain for me, because I believe in live and let live. Insects in the yard, pests on the patio, fine. Offer does not apply to black widows.

Maybe it's because I grew up allergic to bees and learned from any early age that if you stand dead still and ignore it, it usually will go away without stinging you.

Boots also is happy to let his buggy friends cavort, and he takes great pleasure in watching them find their way to where ever they're headed.

Big Guy, on the other hand, has to stomp, squash and then scurry out of the way in case his feet hadn't finished the job.

I've tried to convince him to let them be - "They're not bothering us, so we shouldn't bother them" - but it's never been enough to get him to quit acting like an organic Orkin Man the second he spies an insect.

And I'll admit I'm a mixed message: Bugs in the house, get them out. Bugs outside, let it ride.

It, well, bugged me. How could I be a bug rights activist but unhesistantly summon the gas man when they sought the comforts of my home.

My friend Rob crystallized it for me last week in a blog post about his moral dilemma with a worm he encountered during his daily lunch-hour walk.

Had Rob been on a hunt for fishing bait, the worm's fate would have been easy to decide, he wrote. But faced with a worm trying to wiggle across a city sidewalk, he was torn between helping and letting destiny take its course.

Bingo!

Ants forming a congo line in my bathroom, trying to invade the toothpaste: Not their proper role. Just as it's not the proper role of a night crawler to wiggle away when Rob's bent on impaling it with a fishing hook.

Bugs in the wild: Let destiny decide.

If only I could convince Big Guy of the rightness of my contradictory ways.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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2 Comments »

  • Miracle Man said:

    I’m glad to have been of assistance. Thanks for the blog plug too!!!

    For bugs in general, outside they live, inside they die. The walls of my house are there to divide public from private and I don’t want bugs in my private life.

    Though I do give a little grace to ladybugs and crickets making sure they continue life outside (superstitious? naw not at all….)

  • Debra said:

    Ha! I have the same deal with the praying mantis. Old-time hillbilly superstition holds that you don’t harm these things. Not that I believe in such things, but …