Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There Are Big Black Spiders In The World

A few weeks ago (February 12, 2012) I wrote about a big black spider that I saw on my office floor while taking my blood pressure reading. When I finished taking the reading and went to dispose of the spider I found that it was not a spider at all but a piece of candy wrapper that fooled me into thinking I was in the presence of a sinister creature. The lesson I drew was that the things (the people) who frighten us are not always as dangerous as we think they are. Sometimes they are perfectly harmless.

That is a good lesson that I don’t want to forget. I can easily misjudge the motives of those around me. But a couple of days ago I had an experience that provided a counter lesson. Again I was taking my blood pressure reading, sitting in my office, attached to the monitor when suddenly a large black spider, just about the size and type that I had imagined a month or so ago, came racing out from under the recliner I usually sit in. He (she) ran toward me about half the distance between us and then suddenly stopped, apparently aware that I was there and that I presented a danger to him. Indeed I did. I have little tolerance for spiders of any kind but the large black ones are particularly onerous to me.

But, as in the previous instance, I was connected to the blood pressure monitor and didn’t want to do anything to provide a false reading, so I waited, and watched, and hoped the spider would wait and watch too. When the monitor had processed through its three cycles I carefully removed the cuff and armed myself with my preferred spider-wars weapon, a double Kleenex. With one swift stroke I had enfolded the spider in the Kleenex and dispatched him to spider heaven (or perhaps it is the other place) with one hard squeeze.

As I deposited the spider laden Kleenex in the waste basket it occurred to me that I had learned a lesson equally as valuable that day as the one I had learned back in February. In the earlier instance I learned that not everything that looks evil is evil. But now I had learned that there really are evils in the world, real black spiders.

I’m told that in Wisconsin we have no spiders that pose a threat to humans. That may be so. But there are real black spiders nonetheless, both literally and figuratively. It is the latter that are most dangerous. There are people who, like spiders, prey on others, using stealth and wealth to attack. I see them most often on the screen of my television during the evening news. They creep out, spew their venom, and then retreat under cover of small print and mumbled disclaimers. But in those few seconds they have injected the viewers mind with lies and half-truths that will continue to work after they are gone.

I’ve found a weapon to use against those black spiders on the TV. It is called the mute button. I encourage everyone to use it. Let’s stamp out the big black political spiders that are trying to paralyze our elective system. Start with the mute button on the remote and then, when you go to the polls, pull only the levers that support those candidates who refused to employ black spiders in their campaign.

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