Come into my bath, said the spider to the Buddhist-leaning mug

Spiders. Spiders as big as tennis balls, rolling through our house like, well, tennis balls. Bigger than tennis balls. As big as microwave ovens. I have photos. Why?

We had Spiderman through a few years ago. He did a great job, and there wasn't a spider spotted for yonks. But in the last few months, a massive breeding programme has clearly begun under our roof, which is where spiders breed most, according to the latest Dunedin City Council figures.

They breed especially vigorously in old villas like ours, and with the area above our ceilings quite vast, you can almost hear them wrestling, scurrying and making torrid love.

Which wouldn't matter a whit were it not for the fact there is a round hole around the fan in the ceiling of the bathroom, and the huge buggers just keep falling down that hole, landing with a light plop in the bath when it is empty, and splashing ugly-eyed and teeth-fanging when it is full.

And when I am IN the bath, which is quite often, these tennis ball-sized, no, microwave-sized spawn of Satan head straight for that man area just below the waist, holding their breath an insuperably long time in order to get the business done.

It's a horrible sight, but even more horrible is the sight of me thrashing and contortioning to try to escape the genital-seeking teeth of the spider, still alive, albeit with lungs bursting for air. And then the final curtain as I soar out of the bath, screaming, clutching the one vital organ I cannot do without.

My Buddhist leanings would of course prevent me from killing a spider, but if we are going to discuss that tedious issue they call the sanctity of life, one should also realise with my heavily-compromised immune system I would not even survive one of these spiders brushing against my leg, let alone fanging me to death.

It goes without saying I am immovably convinced that my own sanctity of life is more import than that of a mere spider.

Hence, I would bat barely an eyelid for having the 30,000 or 40,000 spiders in our attic destroyed by chemicals illegal in 85% of the Western World. Ferocious Buddhists would understand because Buddhists have a phenomenal sense of humour.

Few people realise just how phenomenal this sense of humour is. You only have to hear a Buddhist joke to understand why their comedic sense is regarded so highly.

You think I jibe in jest? Look no further than this gem from the Buddhist Humour website - ‘‘Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot most of the time, which produced many calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail, and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.''

I know, I know, humour doesn't get any better than this.

But spiders are hard bastards for an amateur to kill. It's all very well to, say, just slide a sheet of paper underneath and take them outside, flicking them into the garden.

Spiders do not as a rule tend to stay on a piece of paper, especially when it shaking and wobbling because the person holding the paper thinks he or she is about to die. Besides, if someone with a firm hand pulls this manoeuvre off, then the spider just comes back into the house.

Only burglars get pleasure from doing the same thing over and over. And spiders move at an unkillable pace. Unlike rats, which scamper, the spider will just stand there, perhaps thinking it is camouflaged. God knows how their thought patterns brought them to THAT conclusion.

And if you drop crockery on them, they just step away and lope slowly off. An amateur might drop crockery on a spider the size of a microwave oven, or even try to shoot one through the floor from the basement when they think the spider isn't looking, but spiders are always looking.

These infantile assassination attempts never work. I am ringing Spiderman now.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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