My dog spider

I only ever wanted two things out of life when I was young.

The first was I wanted to grow up to be an irredeemable slob married to a woman of superior intelligence, wisdom, earning-potential and physical beauty, so inexplicably contrasting with my own qualities that people seeing us together in public would marvel, saying to one another “He must have a lot of money” by way of justification of this mystifying arrangement. In retrospect, my desire was not an overly ambitious one, considering that by the age of five, I was already considered by most experts on the matter to be a child prodigy in the “irredeemable slob” category. I was that much closer to attaining the American Dream.

The author (left) enjoying a visit with a family of domesticated Okies on display at the Monmouth County Fair Grooming Stables in Red Bank, New Jersey, 1979. The author exhibited from a young age a preternatural instinct for becoming a slob.

The stunned, even offended expressions of our wedding guests as Jacquie and I marched to the altar that infamous day in 2007 only confirmed my sense of pride and masculine achievement. Perhaps the prospect of such a match was revolting to our friends and relatives who saw it as a defilement of nature. How could anyone argue with that? But nobody that day would even dare try to come between me and my happiness.

And I was happy. For a while. Then I became depressed, a contributing factor to which was the realization that though I was married to someone who smelled better than me, had more money in her pocket, knew her way around dental floss and could fill out a tax form, whereas I was limited to signing my name with an X (drawn in crayon), there was still that other thing missing from my life. I felt its absence sorely.

I did not have a devoted pet, the kind of animal I imagined when I was 11 I would eventually have by the time I was an adult: a furry thing that would wait by the door every night for me to come home from my job sorting the discount sex-toy bin at a local adult-emporium. But that was just a childhood fantasy. The reality is, I don’t have my dream-job sorting the discount sex-toy bin at the local adult emporium. Nor do I have anything more companionable in my life than my cat, Sunny, an orange miscreant with a bad attitude, a short temper and shiv-like claws with which to kill and maim.

My bad luck seemed to have finally changed recently. A winter storm had caused a power outage in Mt. Eden.  The house was dark when I came home from work. I was instantly surprised to feel something furry nuzzling my leg. I thought I’d finally gotten that pet dog I always wanted. I couldn’t see him very well in the candle-light, but he was real friendly and we played for a long time. I kept throwing things and he kept bringing them back.

Woof, woof, woof, woof.

Come on boy. That's it. Come to daddy. Who wants to go for a walk? You do. Oh yes you do.

Wait a minute. Something's not right here

Apparently, my dog was really a Black House Spider (Badumna insignis). What I thought was playful cavorting was actually its attempted insemination of my leg using its palps. And what I thought was me having fun and enjoying myself turned out to actually be excruciatingly painful swellings, nausea, vomiting, sweating, giddiness and skin lesions from multiple venomous fang marks.


    1. And this is the “toy” breed, first husbanded by the Spanish monarchs of the 15th century, to eat the jews.

  1. On the plus side, the floor looks clean and your nails are nicely groomed! Hope you’re feeling better. Put the spider in alcohol and send it to me!

  2. I thought new zealand didnt have any venomous animals, that they had taken lawyers first and shipped all the venomous creatures off to Australia.
    Where did u find that thing-besides in your nightmares.

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