29 January 2009

The Spider

By request from my 100th post: The day I met the Biggest God-Damned Spider Ever.

I rock climbed a lot during and right after college. It was a good adrenaline buzz and it helped me overcome my fear of heights. There is a challenging route in Huntingdon (in PA) that had an outcropping. The climb up to the outcropping was easy, but then it was all finger and arm strength to get past it.

I was on belay and had climbed just about to the point where it got difficult. I reached up for a nice handhold and had to dig out some moss to get a good grip. I tossed the moss over my shoulder and yelled out, "rock," so my partner didn't get a face full. We always called out "rock;" it made sure that you didn't look up. No one looks up when there's a rock coming. Well, at least the people who don't require reconstructive surgery.

I reached back into the hole I had dug out and felt a tickle. No biggie, there are all kinds of roots and stuff that were coming through the rock. I found a foothold and pulled up to the point where the hole was.

...and there he sat.

...on my hand.

...a big spider. Quite possibly the largest ever recorded in the history of spider kind. The kind of size that would have made Beowulf say, "Shit."

Okay, it was a little over an inch long but as far as I was concerned it may as well have been a Great Dane with six eyes and fangs dripping acid.

I froze. I hate spiders. Not that "run from a room, screaming like a little girl" kinda fear, but too close to that kind of fear for my testosterone to handle comfortably.

I thought briefly of trying to blow it off my hand but visions of it jumping into my mouth (there are perils to having a pretty good imagination) when I opened it to blow filled me with a distinct unease. That and I would have had to have resumed breathing; yet another hurdle.

I wiggled my fingers as much as my death grip on the rock would allow. It raised two front legs in defense.

I considered chewing through my rope and plunging to quadriplegicy but I figured Gargantua (I had named him by now) would have merely clung to my hand to enjoy the ride and then bit me just for kicks.

Because spiders are calculatingly sadistic like that. Just ask Kelley.

The legs went back down.

On an educational note: A funny thing happens when you cling to a rock in the same position for too long no matter how good of shape you are in. Your muscles get tired. First they feel tired...evidently fear and adrenalin let this stage pass without notice. The next stage basically amounts to a slight quiver which moves into a noticeable quiver which heralds something known as 'muscle failure.'

I was at noticeable quiverosity.

I took a breath and blew gently. The dreadlocks that Gargantua was sporting blew lightly back and he again lifted up his front legs.

After a week a few seconds, his legs came back down and he sauntered off my hand. Thankfully this was not in the direction of my face. I would have had to have scrubbed my face vigorously on the rock had this happened.

I told my partner I was coming down. No actual climbing was involved in this process, I was lowered.

When I got to the base, my buddy looked at me and said, "Dude, why'd you stop?"

"Spider," I replied.

"Wuss."

"Bite me."

I haven't been scared of spiders since the incident, so at least I can thank Gargantua for that. If I ever see him again though, I'm smashing him with a hammer.

77 comments:

Chris said...

I've been waiting for you to post this story & I gotta say, it was definitely worth the wait!! "The kind of size that would have made Beowulf say, 'Shit.'" LMAO - I bout pissed my pants!!

Diane said...

Weenie.

Next time, take Ryan with you. She kills spiders for fun.

Weenie.

Khadra said...

I was so hoping this was going to help me with my own fear, but I'm pretty sure I'm even more creeped out than before. That leg raising thing has scarred me for life I think.

Mo Fabulous said...

Spiders. Gross.

"shiver"

Heather said...

Dude...six eyes and fangs dripping acid...LMAO!!!

Anita Ovolina (arachnophobic) said...

Arachnophobia - I hear you! During my husband's second deployment I saw a spider that was as big as a car (tom y untrained eyes) the WOLF SPIDER. No one was around, only a pregnant me and the four girls. I was sweating and screaming and didn't know how to kill him. I mustered up the courage to grab a giant pot and put it over IT (Shaking). I waited the next morning and asked my neighbor to remove IT.
Seriously that thing was SCARY......
:)

Coachdad said...

Saw that you joined Hot Dads as contributor as well...looking forward to reading your stuff there as well.

Louisa said...

Mwahahaha! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with a healthy fear of those little villains. On the odd occasion when I have either had a spider on me or thought I had one one me I started running round uncontrollably (once in a nature reserve that has lions FFS!). I can just imagine what would have happened if I felt trapped by it.

Glad you made it down in one piece...

smiles4u said...

What a story! I'm glad that you didn't fall or get hurt out of being startled. Not that I like spiders much but snakes would be my one thing that would have me in a panic in that situation. I probally would have jumped!

Khadra said...

ok I'm back to say that I am now in bed thinking everything that is touching me is a spider. thank you lol!

Kelley said...

I never did find that damn spider.

Now I must rock in the corner...your story freaked me out and now I remembered my own...

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

OMG! I would've fallen off the mountain if that had happened to me... I can't stand spiders! (Check my last 50 things tomorrow and you'll find a little spider story in the list, btw.)

Glad you made it out of there alive, buddy. :)

for a different kind of girl said...

Just reading this post made my skin feel creepy as though spiders were crawling all over it!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I have an intense fear of spiders. Here in the OC, we get tarantulas in the summer. (I live in a canyon - we don't see them at the beaches.) For some reason, although they STARTLE the crap out of me, I'm less afraid of the tarantulas than the normal spiders. The little ones are FAST and sometimes it seems like they JUMP right at me. (Maybe not, but I DO have a vivid imagination!) In any case .... in your situation I would have let out a death defying scream and fallen to my death. I'm sure of it! :)

Tony said...

I'm not crazy about spiders either. I don't like to kill them though, so most times I usually just catch them and let them go outside - if I do kill one I get that shivery feeling all through my body and then get grossed out.

SweetPeaSurry said...

Two possible things could happen when I see a spider, and it depends on who's in the general area. If I'm alone, I calmly go and get a paper towel, catch and squish the bugger.

If I'm not alone, I squeal and run out of the room to let someone else get a paper towel, catch and squash the bugger.

I live alone now, I'm all about spider genocide!!!

Paula aka. Zani said...

My best friend Sheli attacks the little buggers with either hairspray.. or white spray paint. She has small white dots on her front porch to prove it. I guess it would be difficult to whip out your handy can of hair spray as you are climbing though. Glad you made it out alive! =]

Bella@That damn expat said...

Me? I'd be screaming like a little girl, rope be damned.

Captain Dumbass said...

A spider that would have made Beowulf say 'shit.' That was beautiful.

Mel said...

Shoot! My first comment was too close to Captain Dumbass's. So...

This is me in the same situation (like I do any climbing except up the stairs to bed): tossing the spider over my shoulder I yell out to my climbing partner "spider!" and keep going.

Does that give me the right to call you a wuss?

Christine said...

Dude. It was a spider.

How about climbing, you grab that hold, feel a little tickle, and look in to see...

two furry ears lift up so that two beady little bat eyes are staring back at you

freak the fuck out

That's what I did.

Maggie May said...

indiana jones and the temple of doom.

Kylie w Warszawie said...

I love that you would crush him if you ever met him again...even though he conquered your fear.

I can relate.

Braja said...

When they're as big as your hand, come back and talk to me about it big boy...best you hop over to Panic's and help him with that cake bakin'....

lol

Kat said...

In the words of the great Rodney Carrington...If this had been me "there would have been two kinds of movement happening, the bowel movement and then the physical one. Shit! Run!"

Weaselmomma said...

Awesome story! The Weasels tease the Mr. That they want a Tarantula for their birthdays, just because he is totally freaked by them.

mo.stoneskin said...

I have severe arachnophbia, but I didn't as a kid. One day I was foraging around in my den and encountered an even scarier spider, the kind that would make Beowulf poo his pants and run to his mummy. Even now when I freak out at spiders at the back of my mind is a high definition 3D image of this beast, haunting me to this very day.

momcat said...

That was too funny! I wanted to laugh out loud but my boss was listening. Excellent.

Cindy said...

I'm proud to be a wussy woman spider hater!
The hubby, he just reaches out to pluck 'em away....
the show-off!

Joanie said...

Big spiders give me the willies. Brown recluse spiders scare the be-jesus out of me! Regular spiders? nah!
Loved this post! LOL

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

"I considered chewing through my rope and plunging to quadriplegicy but I figured Gargantua (I had named him by now) would have merely clung to my hand to enjoy the ride and then bit me just for kicks."

I don't think that "quadriplegicy" is actually a word, but it definitely made me LOL. Not the thought if you attaining it, just your made-up word.

Only you Jim, only you...

Liz said...

I. Hate. Spiders.

Having read the entire story, even knowing where it was going, I now feel I must go and strip down, inspect every thread of my clothing, and bathe myself in scalding hot water to get the spidey-heeby-jeebies off of me.

Lorraine said...

Isn't it comforting to know that your fear of death from falling is much greater than that of the spider. Don't know that I would have remained that calm.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

So you carry a spider-smashing hammer in your belt loop now? At all times?

Ellie

Chris said...

That sounds miserable! Funny after the fact... right?

Something similar happened to a friend of mine. I was climbing right behind him, he tested a spot to hold, a chunk of rock came off in his hand, and about six scorpions came scurrying out. We both screamed like little girls. We both also still have full use of all our limbs.

Those fears and "willies" are very real.

Heinous said...

Chris: I'm glad you liked it :)

Diane: Don't make me dig up the "Hot Cross Buns" extended remix.

Khadra: Sorry about that.

Mo: And hairy.

Heather: It's the imagination thing. It gets me every time.

Anita: The important question... did you use the pot again?

Coachdad: That should be fun, I'm looking forward to it.

Louisa: It makes you wish you had it on video.

smiles4u: At least you only fall a few inches when you're on belay.

Khadra: heh, that's sort of funny.

Kelley: He's waiting...

Amy: I'll look forward to that list.

fadkog: My work here is done then.

24@heart: I'm the same way. Tarantulas are so big that they look more like woodland creatures.

Tony: I used to escort them until we got a Christmas tree full of them once. Now I take them out.

Surry: That sounds sneaky...

Paula: Lol...that's funny. She does a lot of graffiti then?

Bella: You're allowed to do that ;)

Cap'n: Thanks, man.

Mel: That would have been funny. I would have done that with a snake. Go ahead, I can take it.

Christine: I like bats. I think they're kind of cute.. like mice.

Maggie May: and me without my fedora.

Kylie: Tough love.

Braja: I can't bake worth anything. I'll make pizzelles.

Kat: Lol...is he still around?

WM: You should get one then ;)

mo: Don't you love how those images stay with you?

momcat: Pesky bosses.

Cindy: At least he doesn't toss them on you.

Joanie: Those recluses are bad news.

Petra: It's good to make up words ;)

Liz: Hopefully you're at home if you do that.

Lorraine: Decisions, decisions...

Ellie: That's a mighty fine idea.

Chris: As long as you live to laugh at it, it's all good. Scorpions are creepy.

Mama Dawg said...

I can handle spiders, it's the roaches I can't do.

Tracey said...

And now all the ladies here love you even more. The fact that you didn't automatically release the rock and scream while flapping your hands makes you a MANLY man who is scared of spiders.

:)

Miss Grace said...

I saw a cockroach the size of my fist in a hostel kitchen in Spain.

Moonspun said...

But how would Beowfolf have spelled shit?
Great story!

Nej said...

I have an odd relationship with the spiders at my house. If they are outside, I'm cool with it. I've been known to drop a bug on their web, or walk around their web (instead of knocking it down).

But - should they dare enter my house - I smash them on the wall, and leave them as a warning to others. :-)

Sprite's Keeper said...

lcfhpiwobnfwejbmvcl
Sorry, spider stories make me spaz. We have 3-4 inch wide spiders in my area of the country, wolf spiders who jump. WTF? Who the hell told spiders they could jump?
And then there's the mama spiders which carry hundreds of babies on their backs. Imagine the fun when you slam the shoe on one of them!

Casey said...

Ack, I would have jumped to my death. Seeing one in your vicinity is one thing but having it ON you? No thanks. I'm glad you made it out alive.

CaJoh said...

I didn't know Beowulf spoke French…

I used to be afraid of bees until I saw one trying to sting me through my thick coat. A quick slam with my other hand put an end to that.

Great story. There's got to be more rock climbing tales out there just waiting to be told.

Errant said...

omg ! n u survived ??

Giggle Pixie said...

I actually once jumped out of a moving vehicle (my ex was driving) when a spider dropped down from my window frame onto my lap.

I guess you could say I'm scared shitless by spiders. And I would have totally died on that rock that day.

The Fit Dad said...

Couldn't read the whole post because it gave me the shivers and I felt the urge to scream like a little girl.

creative kerfuffle said...

we have the jumping wolf spiders in the fall/winter in the house. i.hate.them. they're too fast, too hairy and too jumpy. much like a lounge lizard dude from the 70s.

Michelle said...

I don't mind spiders but that would have freaked me right the heck out!

beth said...

Spiders used to be my worse enemy until I met the scorpion!

Lola said...

Pussy! I'm not afraid of spiders, and I'll give them a pass on their death sentence the first time I see them.

If I see them again, they get the splat. Rats, on the other hand, they freak me out.

Keely said...

I'm officially crossing 'rock climbing' off my to-do list.

Bleh. Blech. Bleeaaggrrggggh.

*scrubbing frantically at own hands*

Threeboys1mommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Threeboys1mommy said...

You know, I'm not that afraid spiders. I think it has to do with the fact that I spend most of my time on the couch where the biggest spider I've seen is on the Discovery channel ;-)

CK Lunchbox said...

Hmmm? That wouldn't work for me... heights that is (I jumped outta planes and it stills freaks me out). Wait. We're talking about spiders.

I never gave them a thought until working in a hospital while stationed in Korea. This big dude walks into the ER with a arm like Popeye's after the spinach pill. Obviously it's infected so we cut it open to debride it. As soon as we knick it with a scalpel all this puss come shooting out and it's filled with baby spiders. The meat-head yaks, so do a few nurses.

Turns out theres this spider over their that lays its eggs under the skin of animals. This guy was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Ack. Spiders. No thank you.

Funny story, though! Well, for me, anyway - not so much for you. ;)

Heinous said...

Mama Dawg: I just don't like the crunchy sound those things make.

Tracey: Can you fly if you flap your hands?

Miss Grace: I'm hoping you have little hands.

Moonspun: I think a google search is in order.

Nej: That will show them.

Jen: I don't mind the little jumping ones.

Casey: Just barely.

Christopher: I have a few others.

Errant: With sanity intact.

GP: I hope he slowed down.

Fit Dad: Bits and pieces.

CK: Lounge lizards. Once you're infested with them, that's it.

Michelle: Fun stuff.

Beth: I can see where they would be worse.

Lola: I remember New York rats.

Keely: It's actually really fun.

3boys1mommy: They're much less fearsome that way.

Ron: That would be a sight.

Stacy: I can laugh now.

Momma Trish said...

I can't even read this post. It mentions spiders. Spiders are bloody scary. We have gigantic jewel spiders up here, and they freak me right out. I'm shivering just thinking about them, actually.

Yeah. Spiders = Bad.

*shiver*

Badass Geek said...

Dude, spiders are freakin' scary.

blueviolet said...

Best.Spider story.Ever.

The Stiletto Mom said...

I'm sorry, but I was screaming like a little girl reading your post.

A spider that would have made Beowulf say shit? That might have been the funniest line I've ever read!

Debbie said...

I so hate spiders. And they seek me out because of that fact. They are sadistic.

Divine Chaos said...

I do not do graffiti!! Well, not on purpose anyway. I just happened to have the white spray paint in my hand instead of the Aussie Instant Freeze hairspray that I usually attack the little furry, beady eyed, drippy fanged freaks with. *shudders* (I'm severely arachnaphobic)

Sheli, the spider painter.

Jenni Jiggety said...

Next time, bring RAID.

Father Muskrat said...

I thought I commented earlier, but I don't see it now. I think I said something to the effect that I'm a pussyboy when it comes to spiders and likely would've fallen off that rock had Charlotte or her friend crawled onto my hand.

Indigo said...

Ha, I guess now is NOT (maybe since your not scared any more) a good time to tell you I have Spider on my totem. Paul (my other half)does scream like a little girl when it comes to wasp.He does play a mean lead guitar so it kind of takes the wimpy edge off *winks*...(Hugs)Indigo

Confessions of A Mississippi Mom said...

Congrats on a good hundredth post! Spider, snakes, and roaches top my list of creatures I'd rather not encounter. And I think the worst is snakes, thank God it wasn't a snake you grab.... YIKES

BiblioMom said...

I don't mind spiders. I hate mice. Irrational fear of all things rodentary actually. I once shared an office with a woman who was terrified of spiders and we agreed that we'd be screwed if ever there was a spider and a mouse in our office at the same time!

Vodka Mom said...

great Dane???? Quiverosity??

great post.....

Femin Susan said...

Hi......
Wonderful post!
Keep it up.....

bernthis said...

Rodents. Still afraid, terrified, grossed out.

I literally can't walk into a Petco and not want ton run out when I see the Mic...I can't even write the word. I gotta go. I feel creepy and ahh!!!!!

April said...

gah. i f-cking hate spiders.

Phil Bennett said...

Man oh man!!! Good stuff brotha!

That ranks right up there with the time I saw Janet Jackson's boobie. I was just blogging about that earlier.

Peace,
Phil

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Spiders are nothing to me...I lived in this basement apartment and the things were my roomates...so I had to get rid of my sqeamishness pretty quickly!

I think it would have been great if you would have flung it over your shoulder like the moss and yelled, "spider"...then see who was the wuss? :)

How to Party with an Infant said...

The kind of size that would have made Beowulf say, "Shit."

Awesome.

Miss Missives said...

You have been reviewed, try not to cry.

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