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?