Newspaper Article Archive of
Recently, my husband BJ and I went to the local courthouse to fill out the paperwork needed to buy a passport for our daughter Kinzey. We both accompanied her since she is a minor. We found ourselves having to wait briefly in the recorder’s office while forms printed out.
My husband suddenly picked up a small, rectangle, wooden box off the counter and handed it to me.
“Try and open this,” he said.
I turned the box around and looked it over, thinking it might be some type of puzzle. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary with it, I gripped the little tab and slid the cover off the box.
A large, black, rubber spider came flipping out of the box and skittered across the backs of my fingers. I gave a stuttering, choked gasp and dropped the box back on the counter.
Every nerve inside my body shriveled up, every bit of oxygen disappeared in my head, my heart rhythm leapt into overdrive, sweat broke out across the surface of my skin, and adrenaline flooded through my veins.
Feeling weak in the knees, I furiously scrubbed the back of my hand against my jeans trying to erase the feeling of the eight sticky legs of the fake spider.
My husband and daughter dissolved into quiet laughter over my little panic attack. I glared at them, gripping the edge of the counter to prevent myself from sliding to the floor into a puddle, while searching for a paper bag to breath into before I completely ran out of air.
When I could find my voice again I informed my audience how lucky they were that my phobic fit internalized and left me incoherent and hyperventilating quietly.
“If I hadn’t lost all my air, the scream that was struggling to get out would have reverberated through this entire town. I would most likely have been arrested for exceeding the noise ordinance by levels unheard of before by humans and dogs alike. I could have caused mass traffic accidents and sent people and animals running for their lives.”
I realized, hours later, I was unconsciously rubbing the backs of my fingers, still obsessing over the creepy-crawly feeling left by the spider prank.
“You could have warned me,” I complained to Kinzey when I found out that she had seen BJ open the box to see what it held before he gave it to me.
“Well, what would have been the fun in that?” she laughed. “Although I was sure you would figure out it was a trick and refuse to open it.”
“I should have, but I was distracted thinking about all the documents I had to keep track of for getting your passport,” I explained.
“If that’s what you need to tell yourself, you go ahead,” she said kindly, patting my shoulder.
I gave her a squinty-eyed glare.
“You watch yourself, young lady, paybacks aren’t pretty.”
“Me? “she complained. “That was all Dad’s fault. You take your revenge out on him; I was merely the innocent bystander.”
“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen,” I replied gloomily. “Your father is untouchable. I haven’t been able to pull a prank on him in, let’s see, um . . . ever.”
“Well, that’s OK, Mom, we all know you’re the fun one,” she said.
“Just so you realize you may be shortening my life by days, maybe even weeks, every time you do something like that, and then you’ll be left with the “not fun” parent,” I warned.
“Duly noted,” she replied, “although right now, I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t catch that on video.”
She walked off laughing.
I gave a sigh, rolled my eyes and realized I was scrubbing the backs of my fingers against my jeans … again.