Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Thing About Spiders

We all have them. And don’t go pretending you don’t. I’m talking about phobias. The kind of fear that makes us do irrational things at times. Even embarrassing things. Now I’ve blogged about another phobia of mine. Remember the elephant and zoo story? If not, here’s the link: (I promise you, you’ll get a laugh.) Elephant blog.

I may have even mentioned my other phobia. Okay, so I have more than one.

Doesn’t everybody?

In my defense, I have to tell you that I came by this phobia naturally. I inherited it. That’s right, believe it or not, we can pass on these quirky unreasonable fears to our precious offspring.

The fear that plagued my mother—spiders, or some may refer to it as, arachnophobia—found its way into my own phobia bank. And darn it, in spite of my best attempt to save my daughter from this dark mark on her rational behavior capabilities, I failed.

Three women, three generations, who go into full-blown panic mode, at the sight of anything that has eight legs. Never mind that the eight-legged subject weighs in at less than a tenth of an ounce, that we could all take out said creature with our pinky toes. Ahh, but the mere thought of getting any part of our bodies, pinky toe included near even one of those eight legs causes serious damage to our psyches. (And, no, it doesn’t matter if we are wearing steel-toed boots over said pinky toe, the serious damage is the same.) Did you get the serious part? Because I’m not joking.

Have you ever seen those old flicks where bad actors, wearing war paint, and imitating Indians do war dances? You know, where the feet start coming off the ground, the knees rise up to chin level. Well, when in a full-blown arachnophobia attack, we, do this dance. It’s not quite like the bad actors war dance, but add a few Polka dance moves in there and you’re close. We’ve even named it the Polka Eight-legged dance. It’s a good name, too, because our feet move up and down so fast that to a witness, it may appear as if we have eight legs.

Oh, and the noise. It’s horrific. Screams from the very center of our solar plexus spew out of our lips. I seriously believe this is some kind of instinctual prehistoric language meant to warn any arachnophobic person within a hundred miles, that a spider is on the prowl.

The only thing worse, or more embarrassing, than performing said dance in public, it is performing it when you are certain that the eight-legged creature has found its way inside your clothes. (You know where I’m going, don’t you?)

Yep, we’re talking a Naked Polka Eight-legged dance. The clothes have got to come off. And it doesn’t matter where you’re at, or who may be present.

My mother, God love her, performed the Naked Polka Eight-legged Dance for the entire neighborhood when a black eight-legged creature fell into her blouse while getting the laundry off the clothes line. Her performance was so . . . eye-catching, that there are men still talking about it, fifty years after the fact.

Now up until recently, I have been spared having to perform said ‘naked” version of the dance with an audience. Oh, I came close once a few years ago. My daughter and I were walking to the car, when she stopped and said, “Oh, you have something in your hair. She reached out and then squealed, “OH, GAWD!”

She never said spider, she didn’t have to, the scream and the dance had begun.

Me, I’m stood there frozen, yelling, “Get it! Get it! Get it! Get it!”

She continued to dance and then screamed, “Not me! Not me! Not me! Not me!”

Thankfully, after performing the dance myself, the spider is slung off my head by uncontrollable and violent head jerks, and the postman staring at us from the mail truck is spared from seeing the strip tease portion of the dance.

Of course, yesterday is another story.

I was returning home from doing a photo shoot. I had my camera bag, my purse, and some tomatoes I’d picked up at vegetable stand in my hands. I’m hurrying from my car inside when I felt it. No it’s not a spider, it’s even worse.

It was a spider web.

I had walked right into one and it was everywhere—on my face, on chest, on my arms. And I was certain inside my clothes!

I started to scream but then I looked up and my neighbor and a couple of his friends were standing in his driveway.

Gawd have mercy on them. Gawd have mercy on me. The scream locked itself in my throat. All I could think about was doing the dance and getting rid of my clothes. But I could still hear those dirty old men recounting the story of my poor mom . . . so I fought it. I fought it with it with everything inside of me.

Breath held, I bolted for my front door. Hands shaking I barely managed to turn the door knob. I made it inside, slammed the door shut. My $1000 camera, my purse, and the tomatoes were thrown to the floor.

The prehistoric scream emerged from my lips, and the dance commenced. The knees started rising, the clothes started coming off, and the tomatoes, underfoot were paste.

Oh, but even in my sheer state panic I was so damn proud of myself. Proud that I had not performed said dance in front of my neighbors.

And then I hear it. (You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?) I hear laughter.

I look up and my eighteen-year-old son and his friend are standing in the living room, eyes wide with shock as they stare at me. Me, only wearing a pair of jeans and a bra, knees still moving, and a pile of smashed tomatoes underfoot.

My son, still laughing, says, “Hey, don’t pay any attention to her, she just has this thing about spiders.”

So there you have it—another embarrassing moment in the Craig house. What about you guys? Please . . . don’t make me be the only one sharing embarrassing stories today.

Crime Scene Christie -- Who has probably damaged her son’s friend for life.


Nancy said...

Another hilarious post, Christie!

I don't do spiders, either. Uh, excuse me while I go shudder uncontrollably at the very thought.

Nancy Haddock
La Vida Vampire

Christie Craig said...


So you are one of them who listens for those screams of terror and runs.

Thanks for posting.


Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you Christie. I flail all over the place screaming get it off, get it off.

I had one fall into my shirt while we were camping this summer.

I gave my husband, kids, mother-in-law, father-in-law and the 6 old people in the camper across from us a show as I whipped off my shirt and shook my bra out.

I passed it along to my kids too.

Terri Osburn said...

I don't like bugs of any kind but I thankfully don't have this full blown fear. I might do a shake and dance but that's it. However, my sister did the strip once at a ball field. A wasp flew into her shirt and she had it off in record time. I'm not sure what was more amusing, her dancing around in her bra shaking the shirt or the male friend of ours doing his best to block the view of her from everyone else. LOL!

I bet your son's friend is going to tell that story for years. *g*

gNat said...

LOL! Thanks for sharing your shame -- too, too funny*g*.

I hate spiders, too, but they don't get me the way things with stingers do. I've done the shirtless, squealing sprint away from a wasp but the area was mostly deserted at the time. My dad's allergic to bee stings, so that's probably where it all started -- and, yes, I passed the stupid phobia onto my daughter, poor thing.

Still giggling over your son and his friend. The look on their faces must have been priceless.

Christie Craig said...


Thanks for sharing. I can imagine your family's surprise.

Too funny. Of course, depending if your mother-in-law likes you are not, she could use this against you.

Take care and stay away from those spiders.


Christie Craig said...


LOL. I can see your sister-in-law doing the dance in a ball field and her friend doing a dance to protect the public.

Thanks for sharing girl.


Christie Craig said...


I'm afraid my son's friend might be scarred for life.

And I'm allergic to bees, but they still don't do to me what spiders do. My skin crawls just thinking about it.

Thanks for stopping in.


Yasmine Galenorn said...

I have what my husband calls my "spider scream"...yep...we get those huge European housespiders here, which are butt-ugly and freakazoid looking.

The worst was when our Keeter (rb) came meowing weirdly into bed one night, my husband shoves me off the bed onto the floor (I was dozing off), flips on the light, I come up thinking "WTF?" and see this giant spider (they have 3" legspans) cavorting on the bed. Keeter had brought it in her mouth as a gift to us. Oh yeah...good kitty...that was the last time I ever encouraged her to "get the spider".


Lucy said...

I can totally see it. Too funny. I have to say though, you wouldn't last five minutes at my step-father's house. I came here to evacuate the storm and it's like he has a friggin' spider farm! I went into the restroom yesterday and there were eight (count 'em EIGHT) daddy long-legged spiders - and one large harry, fuzzy one poking its legs out from behind the scale. Now, I might do the naked dance if one got on me but I mostly do okay if they're just "around" (although I did keep my eye on all eight yesterday while I did my business and asked my step-father to clear the tub so I could take a shower).

I'll be glad when Baytownians can go home. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hate spiders! Actually, I'm not fond of any bugs. Ugh!

Anonymous said...

EEeeewwwww.... I could hardly even READ your descriptions of the s-word monsters. Yes, I have it that bad. I was once in the other room & heard some guy on Animal Planet describing a S-Word and shuddered, coverd my ears, and did the dance. Have I said eeeeewww yet? ugh.
Did anyone other fellow arachnaphob have little boys in their youth pick up daddy long legs and chase you with them? *shudder*
Luckily, I can't remember a time I've let one get close enough to me that I need to start shedding clothing... but I wouldn't hesitate if I the need arose. It would be a jiggly, scary, naked s-word dance - but it would be worth it.
BTW, your son is never going to let you live that one down... :D

Christie Craig said...



I lived in South America and I saw spiders that could have picked me up and taken me for a piggy back ride. So I know what you are talking about.

And I think that night would have been the last time the kitty slept with me.

Thanks for posting.

Christie Craig said...


I think I'd just peed my pants before I'd braved that bathroom!!


Thanks for the laugh.


Christie Craig said...


Regular bugs don't bother me so much. It's the eight legs that do me in. It just ain't normal!

Thanks for posting.


Christie Craig said...

Mia Rose,

So we're sisters, huh? And yes, my brothers thought playing with Daddy Long Legs and scaring me was funny. My mother actually says that is where here fear came from--her brother put one on her as a kid.

And hey, did you notice I didn't post a picture of a spider? Could be because I could stand to look at it myself!

Thanks for posting.


Jenyfer Matthews said...

I don't *like* spiders but I'm much worse when it comes to the big, flying "tree" roaches that they breed in the South. I've been away for many years but any dark spot in my peripheral vision is immediately spotted!

When I was a young teen, I spent a lot of time at the home of a friend. And nearly every time I visited, a spider would come walking past us as we lay sprawled on the carpet watching TV - and I was dispatched to kill it. Only fail since my friend claimed that I *attracted* them!

My son, now he has the spider thing - particularly spider webs. If the is a web within 3 feet of him, he knows it. I can fully imagine him doing the naked spider dance!!

Christie Craig said...


You attrack spiders? Well, girlfriend please don't come visit me! LOL!

And your poor son, afraid of the very thing his mom attacks.

Thanks for sharing.


Estella said...

I am not afraid of spiders, but two of my children are, so I have seen the dances and heard the screams.

Christie Craig said...


Wow. Did it skip a generation? Were you're parents arachnophobics?

And yup, those screams and dances are very recognizable.

Thanks for stopping by.


Keri Ford said...

yuck, I don't like spiders. or any kind of bugs for that matter--excluding butterflies. they just give me a quick shake, but then again, I've never had one down my shirt either.

catslady said...

I haven't laughed this hard in ages - I was laughing with you not at you lol. I detest them too but I luckily have never had to do the dance naked. I will beat myself up though. The last one to make me dance was a silver dollar sized brown fuzzy spider that I HEARD plop down on my head while bending over to pick out some potatoes. I have thick bushy hair and I must have hit myself in the head while screaming for quite some time. I swear I can still hear the sound of that plop.

Christie Craig said...


I like butterflies. too. I don't even mind when they land on me. I think it was the stories as a child of how if one lands on you it was good luck and my mom said you were kissed by a butterfly.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


I do the beating myself up too. Anywhere that spider might be, I hit and slap.

Oh Lordie, if I'd heard the spider land on my body, I might be landing face down, as in passed out, right after it landed.

It's good to know I've got sister arachnophobics out in the world.

Thanks for sharing and posting.


Anonymous said...

LOL i have to come up with a Branding for you.

Need a Laugh... GOT CHRISTIE?