For most of my life I've had arachnophobia. I'm pretty sure it developed early in my childhood, by repeatedly watching some Michael Jackson movie, one where he turns into a Transformer at the end. There's a scene where the little girl drops her doll in the street and a few tarantulas carry it into the dark. In hindsight, it made more sense to fear Mr. Jackson himself. Ever since then, I've had serious issues with spiders. I would freak out at Halloween when my mother would put up fake webs, and those stupid plastic spider rings would always scare the shit out of me—even the orange ones. Fear doesn't discriminate.

The one thing TV has taught me is that help would consist of a psychiatrist trying to force my hand into a jar of tarantulas. There are three different kinds of reactions I get when telling people about my "condition." The first kind is the asshole response. Someone immediately pulls out their smartphone to show me their "best" spider picture, as if I'm dying to see them and not dying of fear from them. Sometimes these people wait until they encounter a spider, then take a picture of it and send it to me with a message like, "just saw this and thought of you," as if it was a shirt of my favorite band, or a dish of my favorite food. I send them a picture of my favorite finger and tell them I'm thinking of them too.

The second reaction is the smartass response. "You know, the average human will eat an average of eight spiders while sleeping. I read it on a Snapple cap, so it must be true." I respond with, "So, I tell you about my phobia, and you give me insomnia. That's a fair trade I guess."

The third reaction to my phobia confession is the most common, and this one really blows my mind. It's usually from a concerned friend or family member who thinks they are about to save me from my misery with a completely new discovery. "You know, they're more scared of you then you are of them." Oh yeah? Well that's great news. You know what, I think I'm cured completely now! Although eight of those fuckers are going to be dropping into my mouth if I ever do decide to sleep again, it's perfectly fine because they're more afraid of me, right? No! You think I give a shit what the spider's thinking? If it's so scared of me, what the fuck is it doing in my mouth?!

Eight spiders in mouth per night while sleeping

I refuse to get help from professionals because one thing TV has taught me is that help would consist of a psychiatrist trying to cure me by forcing my hand into a jar of tarantulas. Television has really screwed me up over the years. I'm guessing my parents noticed this early in my childhood because they came up with "TV Bucks," a form of currency for my sister and I earned by doing chores around the house, and then spent on time watching TV. It was a win-win situation for my parents: the house stayed clean, and it limited the amount of time I spent glued to the TV.

Although I learned to tell the difference between TV and reality, I wasn't about to unlearn all that useful information. So I continue to stick by the one conclusion I've always had about curing my phobia: my only option is that one of the eight spiders I will eventually swallow will be radioactive, and I will turn into Spider Girl. That way I could be both fearless of spiders, and a TV superhero. Becoming one of the spiders seems to be my only choice really, and I wouldn't fear them, I would rule them. Because if I can't beat them, then I'll eat them and join them, right?

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