• Donna

Burn, Babies Burn

Updated: Nov 26, 2020


My dad taught me how to recognize black widow webs when he came out to visit. He had me move my finger through the silk of a regular web. Then we moved on to a black widow one.

“I don’t wanna to put my hand in there,” I told him. The web stretched from a dark crevice in a set of recycled concrete steps. I pictured the spider quickly emerging and teaching me to mind my own business as soon as I touched its web.


“They’re really docile,” my dad assured me. “It won’t come after you.” I looked at him. Probably the same way I did when I was eight and he told me to suck it up and carry the newly-cut logs to the truck because the ants crawling on them weren’t going to hurt me.


I wasn’t bitten by an ant that day, and I wasn’t bitten by the black widow when I ran my finger through the silk and immediately learned how to identify its web. Very sticky. Very strong.


Learning to manage fear is a useful general skill that I’ll be forever grateful to my dad for making a conscious effort to teach me, and owning a house has made me realize that I happened to learn a lot of other skills along the way, just by watching him go about his business. Sometimes I’ll problem-solve something and then think, Wait, how did I know to do that? And then I’ll remember where it came from. So thanks, Dad.


Know what other helpful attribute I picked up during childhood? Pyromania. In the country, we burn stuff. Need heat for the house? Fire up the wood stove. Got trash to get rid of? Burn it. Hurricane litter your front yard with branches? That’s alright; drag ’em into a pile and light it on fire. I would get arrested if I did that here in LA, but I can still apply the same principles.


Egg sacs threatening to surround your house with 300 tiny poisonous spiders? Light them bitches on fire.


P.S. I happened upon a YouTube video called Opening of a Black Widow Egg Sac. If you haven’t eaten in a couple of hours and don’t intend to for a while, you may want to check it out.

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