Do you ever wonder about people and their fears? I’m not talking about the many different phobias that attack the population–some rational; some irrational. I am referring to the creepy crawlies in the world of insects and reptiles, namely spiders and snakes. I find myself contradicting what I wrote at the beginning of this blog by reintroducing the suffix, phobia. The fear of spiders is Arachnophobia; the fear of snakes is Ophidiophobia, the fear of stinging insects (usually wasps) is Spheksophobia, and the fear of mice is Musophobia.
I’ve seen folks nearly wreck the car they were driving to get away from a stinging insect. I received this information first hand from sitting in the passenger seat of said vehicle.
I had a close friend who was deathly afraid of snakes. We went fishing along with his brother in a john boat one Saturday. After tying off to a small tree, we began to cast. Several hours passed and I happened to turn and look up to see a copperhead just a few feet above our heads. My friend was a good sized man. I was more afraid of him trying to get out the boat in a panic than I was of the snake. We managed to untie the boat and push away from the tree with him none the wiser, all intact and no one in the drink.
One thing I have done more than once is carry my sister from one room to the other or even outside, to get away from a mouse.
Just to mention the word spider, I guess, says it all, as I would tend to believe that Arachnophobia is one of the more prevalent fears within our ranks.
Fortunately, the creatures I have named don’t bother me. I have included similar, but more exotic, beasts in my science fiction novels. They boggle the mind and hopefully entertain the reader.
I used to catch non-poisonous snakes and allow my son to touch them to keep him from being afraid. The same with turtles, frogs, lizards, and salamanders. We lived in the country and I wanted him to experience the safe side of nature.
We may get a chuckle from someone flailing around trying to avoid an insect, but it’s no fun being the one that’s afraid. To bring it into context, everyone’s afraid of something. Check out the camel spider below found in Afghanistan.
As a kid, did you ever have an adult tell you not to do something? What was the first thing you’d do? Allow me to give you an example. I grew up in a rural area. We were inundated each summer with every type of stinging insect you could imagine. Whether it be a hornet’s nest, a wasp’s nest, a beehive, a yellow jacket’s nest (normally built under ground), or any number of bugs with a stinger that you could pretty much imagine from anywhere, I could find that nest close if not attached to my house.
I recall being told by an adult not to mess with a yellow jacket’s nest located underground close to our backyard peach tree. I paid attention long enough to reach the tool shed, open the door, and then, grab a can of gas. I began to pour the gas down the hole leading to the nest, but leaving too much leeway between pours, the extremely agitated yellow clad warriors began to swarm, which in turn put me on the run. One of the insects chased me down sixty feet and stung me on the thumb, proving how tenacious they can be when threatened.
In a similar incident, I was warned to stay away from a large hornet’s nest built into one of our neighborhood apple trees. It was twice as big as a football and just begged to be assaulted. One of my childhood friends and I decided we were the ones to do the deed. Standing a good distance off, we hammered the nest with dirt clods until there was only about half of it left. Wouldn’t you know it; one of the black and yellow avengers nailed my friend in his upper arm.
Numerous interactions with stinging insects followed through my childhood and into my life as an adult, have taught me several things. tenacity can be a good thing when aimed at career oriented goals. (In my case writing) Furthermore, live and let live, and don’t mess with something that you believe is too small to cause you any harm.