Quote of the Day

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

all things great and small (or, how a bug’s life was spared thanks to alcohol and an overly emotional day)

What is this, you ask? An ordinary Ikea jar? Au contraire, good sirs and madams, for this seemingly mundane bottle has found part-time employment as a bug-capturer and temporary housing for spiders. So while its previous contents of genuine Thai seashells lay scattered atop my bookcase, let me tell the story so you aren't quite so terribly confused.

You see, at approximately 11:58 last evening, my cat alerted me, with a sound somewhere between a meow and a growl and a bleat, that there was a foreign intruder in our room. Sure enough, it was a spider, who was subsequently captured, held hostage in the aforementioned jar and then set free near the wilderness of our garbage bins outside. I showed my prisoner to two of my roommates, and one examined it while expressing curiosity at my tolerance. It seems he holds a more violent reaction towards intruders of the eight-legged variety. The thing is, I used to be a stomper myself, or a tissue-suffocator, etc. Whatever the method of euthanasia, I certainly did not at one time find it appropriate to troop downstairs at midnight and venture out into the icy air to let an ordinary bug roam free.

But rewind about a year ago, and I can tell you the origins of this apparent madness. All I really remember is that I had just gotten home from a particularly drunk night of a particularly bad week and I was feeling particularly awful about myself, not to mention particularly overly-emotional, likely due to a combination of that fickle friend alcohol and the events I was dealing with at the time. I had just entered the bathroom and braced myself and my blurred vision against the sink when I noticed a spider in the bathtub. My accustomed initial reaction of stifling a scream and shuddering probably followed, and I proceeded to try drowning the thing. And then a funny thing happened.

You see, I'm not usually that emotional. In truth I've come to see that I tend to be very much a dude when it comes to feelings. I can reluctantly admit that they're there, but I have an inordinately difficult time expressing them, which is to say that I for the most part do not talk about them, and when I do am inevitably only able to awkwardly and probably at least semi-incoherently half-express them, though whether due to lack of practice or innate inability I don't know. So when they accost me like they did that day I tend to become a bit overwhelmed and act in ways others may view as strange.

Anyway, in my inebriated, overwrought state, I watched the spider as I tried to pour water on it and flush it down the drain. And something just came over me, call it an epiphany, or call it a ridiculous over-sensitive drunken fancy. Because as the water got closer and closer to its eight little legs, that little spider began to fight like you wouldn't believe. It started crawling faster than I would have thought possible, scrambling valiantly up the side of the tub to keep away from the deadly stream nipping at it's feet. And it suddenly dawned upon my booze-soaked mind that I've never had to fight that hard. I've never had to work that hard, to truly hustle, just to survive. And it seemed to me that one really has to respect that effort, even if is coming from a tiny little spider.

So yes, that little bug taught me a lesson, and in turn earned its life and freedom. And along with itself saved many others, because since then I've felt obligated to adopt a No-Kill, Catch-and-Release policy when it comes to spiders and other creepy-crawly things (unless they're overtly hostile and impossible to safely trap, like fleas and that Chicagoan wasp that was at least as long as my middle finger). It's kind of funny that I would be reminded of that incident this week, when I seem to have found myself in an especially uncharacteristically emo state. But then again, maybe those are the times I need it most; the little reminder that all this too shall pass, and that it's the true hustlers who always survive. Those who see the shoe sole bearing down upon them and don't give up and give in to a seemingly inevitable fate, but instead scramble like crazy to stay afloat, stay alive and take whatever life may throw at them with a smile and a wink.

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