Based on a true story.
This actually happened last week. Well, obviously I used my artistic license to spice it up, I mean, who eats fresh fruit anymore, amirite?! I, just like you, dear reader, get my nutrients from whatever they’re putting in breakfast cereals these days. Which in my case apparently was disgusting hell spawn worms bent on trying to get close enough to me to touch my hand and make me feel icky!
It may have been due to the fact that my Raisin Bran had been sitting in the cupboard since the first gulf war, but then again maybe not. I didn’t have a control Raisin Bran so who knows.
This is obviously my response to Maki’s Wed. post (which you should check out and then enter the Hexapod Haiku Challenge) and a good opportunity to celebrate our differences, since here on Sci-ənce we mostly agree on everything else. Maki and I were once chatting outside, peacefully, on what might as well have been a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon, when we came across a small snake. And instead of scrambling for the nearest gun and chainsaw to kill it, like a normal person, he picked it up. Serious thoughts of beating him and the snake to death with my shoe followed by self-immolation crossed my mind while I ran away.
Creepy crawly things freak me out. I don’t fear or hate them, they can be quite fascinating (on tv), I just don’t want them anywhere on or around my person. And I’m not alone. As humans we’re primed to have an aversion to creepy crawlies. They are alien to us for one, but not fearing them is a great way to get bit and end up with something like this (extremely not for the squeamish! “Hrrrnnnggghh NSFW!” -Ed.) I mean, no wonder we have such built in reactions.
If your fears go off the charts and into the irrational with a side of panic attack, then you might be one of the many people who suffer from Entomophobia. But I don’t think I’m quite there yet.
Lady bugs, butterflies, ants, moths, caterpillars and other pretty things: we’re cool.
Roaches, bees, spiders, worms, maggots and anything with creepily moving antennae: It’s a can of bug spray to the face until you’re dead and I can’t feel my skin anymore.
Oh I see, paint ME as abnormal. Allow me to retort:
Now that I’ve got you on your toes (ha ha), let me start by saying I love little animals. I love fuzzy spiders, snakes, amphibians of all kinds, and crustaceans. The weirder, the better. I also agree with Nadir completely in the sense that an aversion to creepy-crawly things was probably great boon and highly selected for amongst our hairy ancestors, who would have benefited from avoiding parasites and cave dwelling giant spider monsters. But at some point, and I place myself within this group, curiosity overtakes the heebie-jeebies. Mind you this abandoning of fear responses is not always beneficial, but as the British SAS says, “He Who Dares, Wins”.
Alright, alright, by picking up the snake I did not risk life and limb for the glory of the Empire. But it could have pooped on me. That was a risk I was willing to take. Let’s move past the snake and onto a striped, thirty-legged chilopod that I once caught crawling across my ceiling. My point is, that there was a threshold where my desire to examine and possibly learn about a foreign creature outweighed the sheer terror and bewilderment over how it could possibly move that fast and what cruel god put it in my bedroom. Sometimes this inquiry yields fascinating and beneficial results. At the risk of sounding like I’m part of some plug sharing scheme with blogger Brad Goodspeed, I must steal a quote he used in a recent work from Isaac Asimov that I had never heard before, as I feel it fits so well in this instance:
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny …’
It’s not so much the discovery that is important, but the inquiry that led up to it. I could have taken a shoe to the Trainspotting-Dead-Baby-On-The-Ceiling of the bug world and have been done with it, but I feel my life would have been just a tiny bit less enriched. Instead, I caught it. Upon examination (and some googling), the creature was identified to be a House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) which eats spiders, ants, and cockroaches.
Hm. Carry on, Scutigera coleoptrata, carry on.
This post was brought to you by Polonium (Po).
Fact: The sensation of bugs crawling on your skin is called Formication. I’ll let the jokes flow from that font on their own.
Oh, and I really must apologize for that scorpion photo. It was both unsolicited and terrifying. Plus I’m sorry if I caused any permanent fear of slipping into one’s shoes in the dark. Here is an offering of peace from me to you via the Etsy shop of Brigette (weirdbuglady):