I don’t kill spiders.

In the kitchen I have a spider-catching kit: a plastic cup and a folded piece of paper. If I find a spider in the house, I herd it into the cup with the paper, then hold the paper over the top so it can’t escape. (Spider Alcatraz!) Then I take the little mofo outside and set it free.

I inherited this quirk from my dad. He’s been a spider-saver all his life. Betsy, on the other hand, comes from a long line of spider-squishers, but she’s learned to accept my weirdness. When she finds a spider, she calls for me, and I catch and release.

Or at least, I try. I’d estimate my success rate around 70%. The fact that I fail to catch 30% of the spiders, and she calls for me anyway, is proof of her undying love.

We also get these nasty centipedes in our house – not the slow little reddish armored ones, but big gray fast ones with long, hair-thin legs. I used to shudder and murder the buggers on sight, but over time I migrated them to catch-and-release status too. I don’t hate them nearly as much anymore, even though some are so big they make a thump when they land on the ground. (I’m not joking.)

I’m very attached to this silly behavior of mine, even though it has no legitimate ethical foundation. I can’t claim it’s wrong to kill bugs, because I kill mosquitoes, bees, and fruit flies all the time. (Not coincidentally, so does my dad.) Besides, every time I mow the grass, legions of six-legged creatures fall prey to my blade. They’re bugs, and bugs die. No sense in getting sentimental. Hell, I even kill the occasional spider when saving it would be especially inconvenient.

Yet a part of me says that spider-saving isn’t entirely worthless. Part of me says that trying not to kill without cause, at any level, is a kind of compassion, and compassion is good for the soul.

Yes, I’m deluding myself. But then, we all have our delusions, don’t we?

6 responses to “Arachnicide

  1. Our family’s philosophy is, you don’t bother me, I don’t bother you. Which means we kill mosqitos (they bother us), fruit flies (they bother our food), and cockcroaches (they bother the world at large). As for spiders, our typical reaction is: “oh look, a spider.” before returning to our books. If the spider is uncomfortably close, we move to another location before continuing our reading. With bees, we leave the window open extra wide and keeps an eye on it to make sure it makes its way out eventually.

  2. I must link this. Perhaps one day the spiders will repay your kindness. 🙂

  3. I had this attitude. An old wives tale I that it bad luck to kill spiders in the house. Web of life and all that jazz. But this year they are multiplying like crazy and not keeping up their end of the “you stay away from me and I’ll stay away from you” agreement. I’m swishing them now.

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