Ash-Matic Does Arachnophobia

I don’t like spiders. Nobody likes spiders. Let’s not kid outselves about this. Nobody.

Those freaks who keep tarantulas in tanks? They don’t like spiders. They just want to know where that bastard is at all times.

When they get it out of the tank and let it crawl up their arm? They don’t like that. They’re not stupid. They’re just trying to get it used to their scent, so it doesn’t call over its buddies to have a face-eating party the following evening.

And as for arachnologists – they’re just following Sun Tzu’s maxim – ‘Know your enemy’.

All of these people are just as scared of spiders as you and I. Yes, you and I. I said let’s not kid ourselves.

But why are spiders so scary? Is it because three psychopathic escaped-criminals and a pirate, all armed with pointy objects and an affection for the look of your backside, STILL have less legs than one house-spider minding its own business above a doorway?

Quite possibly.

Is it because the most skin-crawling urban legends are always ones about spiders exploding out of harmless objects and crawling into places you might be about to go? Like your bed, the toilet, your underpants drawer or significant-other?


Or is it that you hate spiders because you quite liked Spiderman as a kid AND SPIDERS ARE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE SPIDERMAN?

Almost certainly.

But whatever the reason we hate spiders, we can be sure that they hate us too.

Every so often in my grey and dreary life, a spider will come along and brighten my day with a lightening-bolt of fiery adrenaline. This happened to me last night – the encounter was fairly typical and I did manage to survive, which leads me to conclude that my method of dealing with this kind of situation is fairly robust.

Thus I will now outline my coping-mechanism for you, in the hope that I can inspire the next generation of fearless spider-copers:

  • First, I allow the rational part of my brain to take a step back, so my sympathetic nervous system can do what it feels it has to. This generally involves an increase in heart-rate and oxygen flow, the escape of what to the casual observer might sound like the shriek of a small girl, and several feet of involuntary backwards motion.
  • Next, I cry out for Miss-Matic. I listen for the sound of an exasperated sigh. If it doesn’t come, I call out for her again and again, until she comes.
  • Then I point out the spider, and demand that she make it go away. Occasionally she will consider the spider to be ‘tiny’ – when it is clearly medium-sized, or ‘small’ – when it is clearly fucking huge, and consider it beneath her attention – but I qualify my demands with statements like, ‘It’s me or the spider‘, ‘I’ll never speak to you again‘, or ‘Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease‘, until she gives in.
  • Next I run to the front door and open it wide, while she gathers her chosen weapons – usually a glass and a piece of cardboard. Then I hide somewhere while she uses magic to fortify herself enough to approach the spider, and somehow – probably magic again – manages to snare it in the glass.
  • Next I retreat deeper into the place I have found to hide, making sure that I am not trapped between Miss-Matic and the door. When she goes outside, I run to the door and peer out, making sure she isn’t going to accidentally release the spider anywhere close to the flat.
  • Further,‘ I shout. ‘Further!‘ And when I’m satisfied that she is far enough that if the spider overwhelms her and charges at me I’ll have time to slam the door shut and barricade myself in, she does whatever she does to ensure it will never bother us again – squash it, break 5-7 of its legs, use a flamethrower on it, or whatever.
  • When she returns, she finds me guarding the door like mighty Cerberus himself – insisting she check that the glass is definitely empty, that the spider isn’t mortally wounded but hanging on to the cardboard with its last good leg, or hitching a ride in her bra – before I allow her back inside.
  • Finally, I make her go and wash the glass out.

In this manner, I have coped with a number of my arachnid foes, and think I am steadily developing a reputation amongst them.

I look forward to the day when I become legend among the eight-legged folk; part-myth, part unholy reality. They will shudder as they barricade their webs shut at night. They’ll look nervously over their shoulders and obsessively check corners and spaces above doors. They’ll scare their innocent offspring into good behaviour with disturbing tales – tales of a figure that looms out of the night and emits a sound far more terrifying than any banshee’s wail:

The cry of Ash-Matic, summoning his girlfriend.

I am participating in the Dude Write Starting Lineup this week. Check it out!

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32 Responses

  1. Loopyloo says:

    You’re coping mechanisms are much the same as mine are – scream, run away and call for help. More often than not, though, there’s no-one home to help me, so I have to settle for hiding in a corner somewhere far away from the spider until my mum comes home, usually forsaking food and drink as said spider is in the kitchen.

    • Ash-Matic says:

      I HATE that!

      Once a spider had the audacity to run at me from behind the grill when I was trying to make a bacon sandwich.

      I was alone in the flat, and thus didn’t get that sandwich.

  2. Addman says:

    Spiders are awesome. It’s slugs you want to watch out for!

  3. lily says:

    This is where my trusty ELECTROLUX 2000 comes in handy.
    During the ‘Great spider invasion’ of 2011, it broke down and I think I coped admirably. I only cried for 4 hours, hyperventilated twice and fainted once, a marked improvement on my previous behaviour.

    As always, hilariously funny.

    • Ash-Matic says:

      Uh. Yes. A vacuum cleaner acts my back-up Miss-Matic in a number of ways.

    • Pish Posh says:

      My ex used to joke about that. I even watched him try it for a second as a joke. the “number of ways” thing. I just sat there with that look on my face that said, yes, I really am watching my adult male partner vacuum his crotch and giggle because it hurts. Men. 😉

  4. Chiz says:

    Ah, spiders are horrifying. It happens to me a few times a summer when I look over my shoulder and see a black thing resting there. When my eyes adjust I am dismayed to find it is a spider chilling on my shoulder. This is when I go all out into a full body spasm while I flail around for 20 seconds then proceed to tear my clothes off and run inside. Horrible creatures.

  5. The Beans says:

    How do you deal with cockroaches, then? What if they work in cahoots with the spider community to plan your eventual downfall in their spider and cockroach kingdoms?

    Will Miss-Matic have a super heroine fashioned after her? 😀


    • Ash-Matic says:

      I’m fine with six-legged fiends. I can do the save-the-day thing then.
      Whether it be ants, beetles, earwigs, cockroaches, or whatever. Not a problem.

      But sticky-tape two extra legs to it?

      Freak. Out. Time.

  6. Haha this was hilarious! However, in my case, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen a spider in my room, panicked, and plonked the heaviest book down on them from a great height. It just so happens that its usually the Bible. I’m going to hell.

  7. Brett Minor says:

    I am one of those people that has a tarantula for a pet. Legs and all he is the same size as my hand. However, you are right. I really don’t like him very much. He stays in his cage.

    On a side note, I sent an award your way. Check my blog for the info and what to do with it.

  8. Great post. I hate spiders, but not in the scared way or grossed-out way. Mostly I just feel as if them being in my house means that it is not clean.

  9. Pish Posh says:

    I love your drawing 🙂 If MissMatic gets the spiders, what do you do for her? Is she afraid of anything?

    I have so many phobias it is ridiculous – but I’m not “afraid” of spiders. I just don’t like them crawling on my face. Spiders are supposed to be in dark places, so seeing them is not a good sign. Also – tarantulas? AAAGH. That is TOO MUCH SPIDER.

    • Ash-Matic says:


      Miss-Matic has a different class of phobia – for instance, the existential terror of the possibility that we live in a world where chocolate doesn’t exist. So, yeah, I help her out by nipping out for a few minutes and bringing her back something reassuring.

  10. Gia says:

    Hahaha MissMatic sounds amazing. I’d be the one screeching in that scenario..

  11. Christi says:

    Brett Minor sent me to your blog as the one of his many that he thought I would enjoy the most. I have little time and can not search out blogs to read on my own. I agree about spiders they are all upsetting to be around but I put on a brave face for my kiddos. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. cant wait to hear what you do next.

  12. Red says:

    Two words: Fierce Creatures (a movie with John Cleese and Michael Palin and a tarantula named Terry…you may have seen it.)

    My sister used to wake me in the night to kill spiders in her bedroom. Now that I’m on my own, I release them, but I don’t catch them with a glass I will then have to wash, but with a loosely held tissue that I can throw away.

    I’m glad Brett (my internet fiance) singled you out for the award – you write good stuff! I’ll be back for sure.

  13. I love your drawing! Too funny!

    Spiders don’t bother me too much. The do have way too many legs. It makes you think that they are eight times as fast and will kill you eight times faster:/

  14. mistyslaws says:

    A friend of mine is deathly afraid of spiders. She was driving with me as passenger one time and saw a teensy tiny itty bitty little spider crawling on the OUTSIDE of the windshield. She almost crashed the car trying to get away from the spider. I was almost killed because she couldn’t figure out how to use the windshield wipers. So, it was quite a pulse raising event for both of us. Fun times!

  15. Grampy says:

    Grampy hate spiders. Grampy smash.

  16. Samantha says:

    It’s TRUE! It’s the 8 limbs! They MOVE differently than creatures with 7 or fewer. I don’t know how to describe it on paper, but it’s absolutely awful.

    I’m terrified of crabs, too. They’re the spiders of the ocean.

  17. Wily Guy says:

    I laughed my way through this post (mainly to avoid the sympathetic pain).
    I am the vanquisher of all spiders in our house, but I’m so deathly afraid of bees that if we get a housefly, I’m ducking like King Kong swatting at planes overhead.

    That cartoon slays me! Welcome to Dude Write!


  18. P.J. says:

    I, too, am not a fan of spiders. Freakin’ things. I’m in a current blog challenge where we had to write about spiders. Basically, when I see spiders though, I’d like to punch ’em in the nose.

  19. Workingdan says:

    I hate spiders…and I too call upon the Mrs to handle the situation, although she never does, often playing the man card on me “You’re the man of the house, you deal with it!”

    I never knew spiders had shoulders!

    Good luck in the Dude Write challenge!

  20. Joe says:

    I’m not a fan of any sort of bug. As soon as one land anywhere near me, my spastic reflex kills them instantly – end of problem. Then my wife yells at me for killing the little beast. I can’t help it; it’s survival instinct. Like your girlfriend, she prefers to carry them outside.

  21. I don’t know, but I think I like this post even better the second time around.

  22. Daniel Nest says:

    Man, my girlfriend is afraid of spiders. Now I’ll need to explain to her how I must get a new girlfriend and try out your strategy…this is going to be a tough talk to take up, wish me luck!

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