Thomas: Sometimes the irrational is stronger than the rational

It is funny to me that no matter how old we get we can still be scared sometimes by the most natural and expected of things.

Last week we had another glorious downpour of rain that was accompanied by a few loud claps of thunder.

I know lightning and thunder are a natural result of storms. I love the sound of thunder to me it is rather refreshing and soothing.

Having said that, I am also frightened by sudden loud bursts of thunder that wake me up and have me gazing around the room looking for an ax-bearing clown.

The rational side of my brain understands that there is no logical way an evil clown could suddenly materialize in my bedroom because of thunder. However, the not-so-rational side of my brain would tell the other side to “shut up and keep looking. That clown could be hiding anywhere.”

The hysteria may only last for a few moments and I will lie back down knowing that everything is OK and there is nothing to worry about and I can go back to sleep.

The next day I can share with my friends in conversation and social-media posts about my moment of crazed panic I had the previous night.

There are a lot of things that scare people in life. Sometimes it is good to be scared; it gets the blood pumping and adrenaline flowing.

We are also scared by things that don’t scare other people.

Take spiders for example. If I see a spider I used to want it dead, just so I’d feel safe. After a friend explained that spiders are just animals looking for something to eat and asked how would I feel if some one swatted me down with a shoe on my way to McDonald’s, I often just ignore spiders now. In fact, on occasion, depending on the spider, I will scoop one up with a newspaper or really big cup and put it outside. Which I feel is a major breakthrough for me,  considering that normally I would panic, find the largest object available and go Babe Ruth on the eight-legged creature.

Make no mistake spiders still make my skin crawl and I’m not about to start holding them or inviting them over for tea.

Sometimes it is healthy to face an irrational fear and my fear of spiders is irrational. It’s not like one spider ruined it for them all. Well, actually one did ruin it for them all and sent me on a 25-year killing spree.

I was 5 years old when it happened; I was on the swing set with my sister enjoying a wonderful afternoon. Then all of the sudden the king of all spiders suddenly appeared, to me it was five feet long and two feet high with red glowing eyes. Of course it was just your average tarantula, which is larger than other species of spiders. But to me it was a Volkswagen Beetle with fangs.

The spider was marching towards my sister and I and when it got close it felt the wind off of my sisters feet, as she swung overhead. It instinctively raised it front legs in defense though in doing that was kicked by my sister and sent tumbling a few feet.

This is where it went bad for me. The tarantula got back up and started back towards us walking faster than usual and it made a hissing sound. Only the spider wasn’t going towards my sister. Oh no, it was coming in my direction.

I watched as it marched closer and kept hissing then waited until it was right in front of me. Then I swung and jumped out of the swing and ran to my mom who was planting flowers close by.

I screamed for her help and I don’t know if I somehow kicked or stepped on the tarantula but it was not at the swing set but was behind me. My mom turned around saw the situation and with her shovel put an end to my distress, or so she thought.

I looked down at the squished remains of my attacker, which were now even larger in proportion to being spread out by the bottom of the shovel. It was from that moment forward that I came to think, spiders are my enemy and I must be prepared for battle at anytime.

Although I am a lot calmer now when I see spiders, I don’t panic and burn the house down to ensure that any spider I meet is dead, but there are times I’m still creeped out by the creatures.

I guess in a way I have a new found respect for spiders and their place in the ecosystems of this world.

But if a spider should be in my room and in sight when a loud clap of thunder wakes me up, I can not guarantee that I will not strike first, for fear the spider is a scout for the clown.

Thomas Garcia is a senior writer at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at tgarcia@qcsunonline.com

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