Arachnophobia and the Arachnid-man

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spiderman

My 3 year old nephew Harvey comes to me the other day, opens his bag and takes out a toy spider. No, not Wooly from ‘Woolly and Tig (A cbeebies programme featuring a friendly, blue, wooly spider who gives Tig advice on certain situations). No, this toy spider was big, black and ugly with sharp pointy fangs and red eyes and far from being cuddly! He places it gently next to my keyboard with a huge grin on his face full of excitement, “Auntie Lizzee, Spider! Spider!” I knew this spider wasn’t real, in-fact this wasn’t the first time he had brought it with him when visiting us but my heart felt like it had jumped up into my throat trying to escape the adrenaline rushing through my veins because of this 8-legged creature made out of plastic which was no more than a few centimeters away from my finger tips.

Amongst other phobias that I have… and the list seems pretty endless… arachnophobia has always been my worst but I have never had the courage to grab a shoe, book or weapon of some-sort to kill it with. It’s not because I don’t want to play God with these creatures, amazing creatures at that, it’s because for all I know it could be pretending to be dead and then creep up on me in my sleep and do it’s worst.

Thinking about it, it is strange to be scared of something like a spider. In all honesty I’m scared of most things which all seem to have similar things in common. Anything which is smaller than me (a factor I strangely find hard to believe) and has more than 4 legs, I get the willies and choose to flight from the situation. Lets face it, there’s nothing worse than having a fight with a spider, as we have seen from Spider-man, you don’t know where they’re going to pop up next.

What’s funny about this story is that not moments later after Harvey placed his spider on my desk, he thought he saw a creepy crawly and screamed from the top of his lungs. The kid is quite clearly scared of spiders too, but considering he was wearing a Spider-man t-shirt there is something slightly ironic about these few moments of spidery-madness.

So, here is what I was thinking.

Stan Lee is obviously a genius when it comes to creating super heroes. However, there is something about Spider-man which is quite special. Arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias out there, in-fact according to psychology.about.com, arachnophobia is top of list of most common phobias that affects approximately 10% of adults. (a statistic I must admit, I thought would be a little higher). Stan Lee must have grasped this in the 1960s and thought, ‘hey, lets create a super hero who shoots webs out of his wrists, swings from buildings and scares the living shizniz out of the criminals who scare the living shizniz out of… everyone.’

He actually was inspired by a simple spider climbing a wall…

Nevertheless, to use a symbol that many people are scared of to fight crime shows that maybe there are more important things to be worried about.

So maybe, when you next see that creepy crawly on your bedroom wall, think twice. You’re much bigger and the thing might just cast it’s revenge. I joke of course… Remember, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Put the shoe down and grab a glass and piece of paper! You never know, it might be radioactive and give you super powers too… (Insert wink face here ;))

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