At a very early age, I learned to love Spider-man. Here you see his flaming head signifying my fourth birthday. This party was at a McDonald's. I remember them taking me back to the kitchen and me thinking how great it would be to work at McDonald's. Apparently, this is the same brain that thought it would be great to work in advertising. But that's for another day ...
My love for Spider-man grew. Quick sidenote: I recently sent Lucas Cameron Wilson a itsy-bitsy Spider-man to get him well on the way to geekdom. Here is a more recent pic of the little guy. (Geesh, seeing a lot of Jim in that lad.)
So, back to the point of this blog, which is actually not comic character related, but spider-related. My fascination with Spider-man's powers soon became a realization that they were based on something actually in the animal kingdom. I loved and still love studying animals. My zoology classes were the only classes that came close to being as interesting as my literature classes. Animals didn't freak me out. I had held snakes, lizards, slugs... and spiders.
Then it happened. The summer in between my 4th and 5th grade years, a bit older than Sam. We were on a family vacation in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I woke one morning after a night of firefly catching and pillowfighting with my older brother and three stepbrothers. I was hungry, and there was bacon ... I was smiling. Little did I know it would be the last smile on my face for some time. I took two bites of bacon ... and threw-up. My step-mom Liz (a woman who must be an angel to endure the week that followed) is a registered nurse and started caring for me. (Mom and Dad were both in Louisiana.) However, once I couldn't hold down a glass of water or a spoon of Mylanta, she knew it was time for the hospital.
The doctors found a small triangle bruise on my side. I insisted it to be where the zipper of a couch pillow had slammed into me in our pillow-fighting. They thought perhaps it was appendicitis. However, one of the symptoms is reduced appetite and I was my normal "starving" self having lost out on bacon. It was soon diagnosed as a spider bite, of the Black Widow or Brown Recluse variety (I think perhaps it was the first ever Brown Widow bite in the U.S.) For the next several days, I had IVs, fever, a full-body rash, exhaustion, miserable blah feeling, boredom and the mysterious fear of death upon me. But I got over it ... See, I'm smiling again, on the right is my cup of ice chips I frequently got as a "treat":
However, this incident left me horribly afraid of spiders. I mean nothing gives my the heebie jeebies more than spiders. My arachnaphobia was pretty drastic at first. I couldn't stand pictures of them. I am since comfortable with spiders walking on me again, and I am cool with controlled environments of them (we have a couple in the house now). However, they still give my startle reflex quite the work-out (as Eric can attest to from a phone call earlier this week). Below pictures show me checking out a spider-web, and then immediately startling over wind in the trees! Like some giant spider is going to take me down or something.
Oh yeah, I got rid of most of my hair today. Which as you can see from the childhood pictures, is not a common thing for me.