Posted by: Kate | September 15, 2006

Arachnophobia from the Past

This is an old story, but I was just telling a friend about it, and it’s still funny to me.

I had a friend in high school, named Bill. He liked to get me very weird birthday presents. Like, one year, he bought me an eggplant. Another year it was the meanest gerbil ever to grace the planet – it was so mean I had to return it to the pet store after a week. And for my 16th, he got me a tarantula. Yeeeuuuuccccchhhhhh.

But it was a gift, so I kept it. It ate crickets – so once a day, I would get a cricket out of the fridge (they lived longer chilled), shake it into the cage, slam the lid down and run away. I never touched it (and a good thing, too, because I have since learned that tarantula venom and beestings contain the same venom… which I am badly allergic to… maybe Bill was actually trying to kill me), and I tried never to make eye contact. But when a critter has 5,683 eyes, it’s hard to know whether you’re making eye contact.

Anyway, we lived in a split ranch, with the living room downstairs, and on the other side of the basement was my bedroom, a second bathroom and the laundry area – which is where the tarantula lived. We’d sit in the living room to watch TV, and every night, I’d feed the spider and then settle on the couch, and soon afterward we would hear, “chirp….. chirp….” After a few days, it was noticeably louder, “Chirp….. Chirp…” And after a week or so, it was seriously loud, “CHIIIIRRRRRRPPP!!!!! CHIIIIRRRRRRPPPP!!!!!!” We assumed it was the crickets screaming as they were attacked, so we all felt kind of horrible and kept turning the TV up louder and louder.

Finally one night my father went to investigate, because it was really unreasonably loud. And he discovered that it wasn’t the crickets at all – it was the smoke alarm, chirping to let us know the battery was dying.



  1. I have a similarly funny story along those lines, except it involved a Swiss German friend, and what he thought was an annoying night bird singing outside his bedroom window.

    Pretty funny really 🙂

  2. […] just a coincidence.  They were on opposite ends of the house, so we had increasingly urgent cricket-screams in stereo while we finished […]

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