I have trouble killing spiders because every time I am about to bring myself to do it, a montage races through my brain consisting of scenes from childhood classics.
Miss Spider from James and the Giant Peach.
Rosie from A Bug's Life.
Charlotte from Charlotte's Web.
This thing from Toy Story that looks kind of like a spider.
Nevermind the fact that I also think, "You're a murderer" the moment I even begin to wrap up some toilet paper to squish the thing. And then, once I even think of it as "the thing," more remorse fills my little bug-loving heart and I end up knighting the insect in question and welcoming it to my kingdom of Bathtub Bottom. (Like Bikini Bottom, but instead of a sponge, there's a lufa.) I even went as far as to courteously addressing the giant loo-dweller that has been paying me frequent visits since Monday.
"I can't kill you, Ochita," I said, before pausing and realizing that not only was I talking to a spider, but I had named it, therefore revoking all chances of me ever finding the nerve to kill it. Technically, "Ochita" would mean "Little Eight" in Spanish. So not only did I name it, but I gave it a personal name based on its features. A nickname. A pet name. A term of endearment. In a Romance language, nonetheless.
This may be a consequence of living alone. The next thing you know, I'll have cardboard cutout people posted about my apartment, covered in ants and spiders, and I'll be telling visitors that we're all just one big, happy cardboard-cockroach family. Then there will be no more visitors.
I blame this attachment on more than just kid flicks. I also hold my third-grade teacher responsible.
"There's a spider in the girl's bathroom!" said some snot-encrusted fuckface in a skort and scrunchie.
"Oh, don't be scared," our teacher said to her, following the little slut into the stall.
"DON'T KILL IT!" I yelled at the both of them.
They didn't respond.
"IT DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO YOU!" I continued.
Still no response.
"WHAT IF SOME GIANT SPIDER KILLED YOU JUST BECAUSE YOU WERE DIFFERENT?"
"Giant spiders, ewww!" the tiny bitch whined.
She didn't seem to grasp my point.
"Natasha," my teacher said, finally directing her attention toward me and my courageous efforts, "I'm just going to flush it down the toilet. It will be fine."
"Flush it down the toilet?!" I gasped, losing the valiant tone from my voice.
"Don't worryyyyyy," she urged. "Spiders can swim."
I looked at her quizically.
"Yes," she assured me. "They are some of the best swimmers around."
"...some of the best swimmers around?"
"Yes," and then she flushed it.
Like the morbid weirdo I was, I watched it drown. BUT - I remembered, it was not drowning. It was swimming, yes! The butterfly stroke, oh yes yes, I'd recognize that any day! I left the bathroom satisfied, and immediately retold the story to my parents when I got home.
"Ms. Johnson flushed a spider down the toilet today but it was okay because everyone knows spiders can swim."
"They can what?" my parents asked me.
I may have been eight years old - but I wasn't dumb.
"SHE LIED TO ME, DIDN'T SHE."
"Spiders can't swim, honey. I'm sorry."
"It'll all be okay."
"SPIDEY IS DEAD BECAUSE OF HER. I COULD HAVE SAVED HIM. I COULD HAVE SAVED HIS LIFE."
"Well, Spidey sounds like a warrior. Maybe he lived through it. Maybe he was strong enough to fight for his life."
They were right. Spidey was a warrior. I knew he had lived through it, but that didn't stop me from confronting my teacher the next day.
"Spiders can't swim, Ms. Johnson. You told me they could, and they can't."
"Natasha, please go take your seat."
I was mad, but I still knew that when a teacher tells you to take your seat, you better take your seat. This was even more crucial with Ms. Johnson, who liked to pull out Mr. Paddle when she was upset. She never used Mr. Paddle, she merely held it in her hand and stared at you directly in the eyes, not speaking a word. Just looking. And looking. And turning Mr. Paddle around in her hands. Every time this occurred, you knew it would be that time that she decided to finally use it. This is it, you thought, this is where I die. You'd never seen her use it, but you knew she had, for Mr. Paddle was covered in children's signatures. According to the wise and all-knowing fourth-graders, Ms. Johnson made every kid she used Mr. Paddle on sign it afterwards.
This is why I immediately took my seat, but not before shouting:
"YOU'RE LUCKY SPIDEY IS A WARRIOR!"
So I guess this is why I can't squish spiders now. Every eight-legged bug becomes an eight-legged buddy. It's all to avenge Spidey, the one friend I couldn't save.
...I have to go check on Ochita now. She's probably been lonely.