Spiders, clowns and other rejects from hell. Tilf and Trick check out understandable fear.

It is little hidden secret that I am a teensy bit grimmed out by spiders. I would quite happily live with a hundred frogs if it meant I could forgo any spiders anywhere near me.

Arachnophobia is defined as ‘the irrational fear of spiders and other arachnids’. I have a problem with this definition, fear and hatred of spiders is entirely justified. Nephophobia, or fear of clouds is odd, from the outside. Or, the possibly fictional, anatidaephobia, the fear that somewhere a duck is watching you. I wouldn’t be surprised is someone, somewhere, has this phobia.

I know the ecological system relies on a lot of things. Balance for one, and a chain of logic that stretches across all its creatures and plants, both large and small.

Rumour has it, someone once built a collection of self-contained eco-systems, with subtle differences in each. Whether these were built or programmed is probably irrelevant, they showed a small range of eco-systems that showed what would happen if the planet lost some things. For example, bees, mosquitos, plants, ants and spiders et cetera.

When the plants are removed, everything dies, obviously. It’s the first food chain we learn in primary school. The sun grows the grass, the grass grows, the rabbit eats the grass, the wolf eats the rabbit. The end. A simple food chain. When you take out the first link, the whole thing falls apart.

When you take out bees, and funnily enough, wasps, who do some of the bees work, all the plants die, back to scenario number one. When you remove ants, likewise, nothing is removed, nothing is cycled, the rot chokes the plants, the plants die, and back we arrive, again, at the start.

When you remove spiders, the level of insects jumps so massively that the eventuality is that humans would choke to death of the clouds of buzzing nastiness, along with all the diseases being spread, everybody dies. Pretty much scenario number one again. Except the plants continue growing for a while, until the locusts spread at a ridiculous rate and eat all the plants.

But, if you remove mosquitos, very little happens. Well, nothing obvious, at first. The plants continue growing, the 8 legged freaks of alien descent live off every other bug available. But eventually, a pattern emerges. The birth and death ratios of humans split, massively. The divide becomes enormous. Because mosquitos are responsible, in part, for another important thing that we humans like to think we invented.

Culling.

We cull rabbits, deer, rats and whales, the Japanese would have us believe. To keep numbers at a sensible level. If there’s too many rabbits, there’s not enough grass, the rabbits die, disease spreads, and eventually the majority of rabbits die anyway. The cull prevents disease and gene watering. I’m firmly behind spider culling.

My problem is, where I’ve now moved into this house to be a sad, pathetic, lonely cat lady, I now have to deal with spiders, or Nopes, on my own. I’m not happy about this.

Ah, they’re Nopes, by the way, because you see them and go “nope”.

When Boo was a kitten, she would quite happily devour spiders all day. Which was nice for me, I didn’t have to see any, all I had to do was hoover up the little star of uneaten legs she’d leave behind. Unfortunately, this has stopped, ever since the Day of the Leg.

It deserves the capitals.

She caught this horrifically huge, horribly hairy, spitefully ugly brute, right next to my chair. So I did my usual and pulled my feet up, tucked my collar in, squashed myself down and tried not to look at it, in case I threw up. But her sounds made me look down. She battered it into that little knot they form, all legs curled in, and swooped her head down to eat it.

This is where it went wrong.

That nasty, eight legged freak. That grim, foul example of extraterritorial life. That, that, that spider put a leg up.

Up her nose.

Cue Boo freaking out, with the worst groucho Marx ‘tache ever. This huge hairy garden variety monster stuck on her nose like a lost face-hugger. And ever since that screaming, screeching, head flicking day, she hasn’t touched one since.

I have a few spiders at the moment, and the ones I’m getting, I’m running round after with the hoover, sucking the little bastards up. Along with some cat litter crystals, so they get killed quickly and mercifully in the cyclone chamber.

See, I’m not that evil.

But I think I’m supposed to like these nopes. Known as Pholcid spiders, or cellar spiders. They eat other spiders. I suppose I should thank them and let them stay. But I can’t, they horrify me, terrify me and make me feel sick.

Also, clowns are pretty grim too. It amuses me that caulrophobia is as well known as arachnophobia. On average, more people fear spiders than death. But those same people, and more also fear clowns. This means that more people fear clowns and spiders more than they fear death. That either says a lot about our fear of death, or a lot more about modern lifestyle.

Funnily enough, the only clown I don’t mind is pennywise, the clown from It. At least he reveals what he is nice and early.

But spiders are still pretty gross.

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