I’m not a big fan of killing – upsets my digestion.

There are some exceptions, of course: dinner (I hate my chicken still clucking), armed thugs (violent people deserve to be shot) and most any sort of eight-legged monster (except congressmen, usually).

About this last group, I’m especially keen on killing. My wife loathes spiders. As a result, I am frequently drafted into scurrying-critter murder fests. By now, of course, it’s in my blood. I’ve gone “Lord of the Flies” when it comes to spiders – including the one hustling down the hall Friday night.

Sure, he was probably harmless. He was running away from me, not at me. But I’m a new father and have sworn an oath to protect my little Fionn and precious Lydia from all enemies, foreign, domestic and arthropod.

Who could blame me? I’ve seen “Arachnophobia.” One thought of those little poison-filled fangs was all it took. I was lunging after him. A maniac. Kicking. Jumping. Stomping.

Little did I know that all my ferocious juggernauting was about to be in vain.

The monstrous wolf spider made a bolt toward the laundry room, inches away from probable safety. He was almost in the clear. In a desperate attempt, I careened forward and – instead of squashing the pest – planted my foot in the doorframe with enough force to make the thing stick.


That was one kick that smarted in a very non-Yale sort of way.

Still squinting with pain, holding back all sorts of unsavory words and bouncing up and down like a yo-yo on my good foot, I could see the eight-legged weasel snickering at me to my right.

He was doing a handstand, cart-wheeling around with his tongue wagging. You could almost hear the “nyah, nyah, nyah” coming from his direction.

I turned in a flash, and – ow! That was the newly-bad toe I was standing on – gave him a taste of good foot.

I hit him so hard, I almost absorbed him into the ball of my foot; it took me a few wipes just to scrape him off.

Overall, the whole thing was pretty foolish. I happened to be barefoot and, afterwards, barefoot and pain-stricken.

I hobbled into the bedroom and told Lydia how I saved the family from certain doom. Grateful that I rescued our clan from danger, but far less than impressed with my strategy, she suggested that the toe was broken and that I should ice it. Nothing doing. It was late, I wanted to hit the sack and it was only stubbed, right?

When I woke up, that little piggy was swollen like a summer sausage and twice as tender as a good cut of filet mignon. I went to get out of bed and nearly fell over after trying to put weight on it.

Having never busted a toe before, I had no clue that doctors do nothing for the thing except laugh behind your back about how you got it, tape the thing up and offer some painkiller. Had I known, I wouldn’t have gone to the emergency room. Not that it was a bad visit. I was seen fairly promptly (I’ve waited hours and hours in those places before; this one was only 20 minutes or so) and the staff kept the giggling down to a minimum.

As for the treatment, I took the tape and turned down the codeine. I may write about legalizing drugs, but I’m not fond of taking them – codeine especially. As an opiate, it can constipate you, and having to drink prune juice with a broken toe is about the last thing I needed.

Besides, the nurse would probably need it more than I.

I’d been sandaling it for a while then, and despite my best efforts, my feet had yet to relinquish their 40-years-in-the-wilderness odor. Guess I should have seen Dr. Scholl instead. Anyway, that miserable nurse must have needed to check himself into the ward after getting close enough, long enough, to tape those dastardly digits together.

So now I’m hobbling around with a toe as purple and plump as an eggplant, wishing like crazy that I had just let that spider have passage down my hallway.

“Instant karma” the nurse called it. I’m no Hindu, but maybe he was right. Of course, in the end, that spider got a good-sized dose of instant karma himself.

Adios, Ocho.

Hello, agony.

And what was I thinking about, turning down that prescription for codeine?

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