384. Spiders Are Noble and Misunderstood

Nearly everyone I know has an irrational fear of spiders. In fact, most of my friends and relatives react to spiders by terminating them with extreme prejudice. This is a shame. Spiders are noble, innocent, misunderstood creatures. I’m fond of the little guys, and I think they deserve better than to be slaughtered without pity or remorse.

I grew up in Ecuador: a tiny country with a bewildering variety of birds, animals, insects, and other creatures, including several species of spiders. At one point in Quito, my family and I had tarantulas burrowing in our back garden. No spider ever did me harm. Other bugs attacked me, such as mosquitoes; still more tried unsuccessfully to hurt me, such as scorpions and a Giant Mutant Killer Jungle Ant, but spiders were contented to mind their own business and leave me alone.

Most people refuse to return that favor. A friend of mine, whom I’ll call Socrates, once tried incinerating a spider with a flamethrower cobbled together from a lighter and a can of cooking spray. Other friends—less creative than Socrates, but just as violent—have wielded books and shoes in their bloodthirsty crusade against spiders.

Misunderstood spider is misunderstood

Heck, even J.R.R. Tolkien, a man of enormous creative genius and one of my heroes, hated spiders. A childhood encounter with a tarantula traumatized him for life. His arachnophobia surfaced in his stories; his most famous books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, both feature wicked giant spiders.

As much as I admire Tolkien, I think E.B. White was closer to the truth when he wrote Charlotte’s Web, a children’s book about a sweet, noble friend who happens to be a spider.

Charlotte's Web

Everyone thinks spiders are awful, but look at that goose! That bird is clearly evil, and probably possessed by many devils.

Charlotte is basically any and every spider: hardworking and considerate, spinning beautiful webs to rid the world of pests like flies and mosquitoes. E.B. White understood, guys.

Flipping heck, even cartoons for young children get it.

Spiders quietly eliminate true pests. Have you ever tried sleeping with a cloud of mosquitoes buzzing around your ears? I have. It sucks. Have you ever been annoyed by flies, stung by bees, or menaced by cockroaches? I have. It sucks. (Cockroaches, my archenemies, are the worst creatures on God’s green earth.) Spiders prevent the proliferation of these wretched beasties. If spiders did not exist, the world would be overrun by filthy pests. Spiders are God’s guardian angels.

Spiders aren’t so bad, really.

Look, I get it. Spiders look scary. They have a lot of legs and too many eyes, and the way they move is a little creepy. Spiders are odd-looking. However, if it were okay to kill things just because they looked odd, Pete Docter would have been murdered ages ago, and Pixar’s Inside Out (which Docter directed and co-wrote) would never have been made. So there.

Pete Docter

I have nothing but respect and admiration for Mr. Docter, but he sure is a goofy-looking guy. He has roughly 70% more forehead than most people.

If we killed everything that looked weird or made us uncomfortable, I probably wouldn’t have made it to my teens.

An expert on Englishing

There’s a reasonable explanation for this. Probably.

Yes, some spiders are venomous. Some can kill you. Do you know what else can kill you? Donkeys. (They have a vicious kick.) Human beings also kill each other occasionally, but I like to think most of us aren’t so bad—and neither are most spiders.

So the next time you want to slaughter a spider out of fear or disgust, consider showing some mercy and putting it outside instead!

7 thoughts on “384. Spiders Are Noble and Misunderstood

  1. Yeah, man. Spiders are cool. A huge one showed up and made a giant web right over the entrance to the math building at my school earlier this week. It’s stayed there happily and has caught many pests. Hopefully no one kills it.

  2. I remember one guy got on his soapbox about how awesome spiders are and as tvtropes would say “humans are the real jerks” and ….well sadly I don’t have patience nor possibly the opportunity to capture spiders and let them loose out side. If fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they crawled right back in some how.

    I don’t deny the usefulness of spiders, one of my favorite Marvel Heroes is Spider man. I will say what I said to that guy, I treat spiders (And other creepy crawlies) in my house like I would with a stranger I didn’t invite in. I don’t care if they are nice of enough to wash my dishes (or in a spider’s case eat other bugs). I don’t have any reason to believe they wont want to kill me in the middle of the night. (Though with humans I don’t beat them with a heavy book….well not to death anyway. lol jk)

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