Monday, May 19, 2008

The tarantulas is loose

There’s this awful part in Mark Twain’s “Roughing It," a travel book about Twain's experiences with his brother in the Old West. He's been rooming with a bunch of guys who work out in the desert, supposedly surveying for a railroad, but they spend an awful lot of time chasing down and collecting tarantulas, which they keep in jars on shelves in the large room they all share.

Hilarity ensues. A windstorm tears the roof off of a barn and it smashes into the house:
“There was a simultaneous awakening, and a tumultuous muster of the brigade in the dark, and a general tumbling and sprawling over each other in the narrow aisle between the bed rows. In the midst of the turmoil, Bob H— sprung up out of a sound sleep, and knocked down a shelf with his head. Instantly he shouted:
‘Turn out boys – the tarantulas is loose!’
No warning ever sounded so dreadful.”

(I’d have to agree.)

“Every man groped for a trunk or a bed, and jumped on it. … one had to imagine the spectacle of those fourteen scant-clad men roosting gingerly on trunks and beds for not a thing could be seen. … Every now and then you could hear a little subdued scramble and a sorrowful ‘O Lord!’ and then you knew that somebody was getting away from something he took for a tarantula.”

The worst part is they never found any of the spiders.

One of my former co-workers recently chucked his job and hightailed it for South America (also with his brother) – you can see his blog here. Recently he endured his own spider experience.

He and his brother decided, once they got a gander at this eight-legged monstrosity, that they couldn’t sleep until they found all of them. There were more than thirty.

(I would need hospitalization.)

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