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This original column is provided free for one-time use with author credit at the end. It may be used for background with author credit. Copyright applies.

#174 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2011

A bite for a bite leaves everyone bitten
By Curtis Seltzer

BLUE GRASS, Va.óAn estimated 1,000 spiders have died during the last 40 years, squished flat by my shoes, newspapers and, in a pinch, the heel of my fist.

I donít pick these fights, but I havenít shied from them. I donít dislike spiders. In fact, I think theyíre cool. On the other hand, I donít want them webbing up my house as their preferred habitat.

As with most fights pitting size against stealth, I am neither winning nor losing, even though I win every battle when a spider puts up its dukes.

It reminds me of whatís going on in Afghanistan.

Spiders are all around us. In a typical one-acre grassy field, you might find between one and two million. This is Internet information; Iíve not actually gone into any of our grassy fields and counted.

Several hundred spiders reside in the typical American home. Farmhouses, like ours, are even more hospitable to the little bugs they eat. (I did not disclose this information to my wife, Melissa, when I suggested that we buy an old farmhouse. I told her something generic, something like she should be prepared ďto see fish and game, along with other native wildlife.Ē

I thought of my 1,000-spider, lifetime toll when one hard-bitten jihadist nailed my not-entirely-innocent foot last week. I was ambushed inside my own shoe. Why a spider was looking for a buggy breakfast in my footwear is not a question I will address in a public forum.

I didnít feel the bite, and I didnít see it escape to bite again another day.

My foot swelled. A red circle appeared in the middle of the swelling with a white dot in the center. I gimped for four days.

Black widow spiders are around, but Iíve yet to see one in the house.

My friend, Joerg, who has a better eye for these matters, has found them in his crawlspace on a neighboring mountain. Joerg and I see each other at the workout room in the mornings where we solve the problems of the world before 9 a.m. while lifting and trotting. We are very skilled at multitasking.

Among his many talents, Joerg is the only guy I know who has ever swept a bear off a porch with a broom.

The bruin in question refused to stop munching on seeds that Joerg clearly intended for birds, not bears. The bear paid no attention to Joergís reasonable request to stop freeloading. So Joerg fetched his broom and tickled the bearís nose. Well, it might have been a little more than a tickle.

The local black widow colony watched this showdown and decided to give Joerg a wide berth.

Iím encouraging Joerg to apply his broom to several foreign leaders who also need to be moved away from feeding on what they consider to be a free lunchótheir national treasuries.

The spider that got me was not a black widow. I did not find two tiny red puncture marks. I had no headache or dizziness (other than what those who know me consider normal). I was not short of breath, and I had no belly spasms. I was no more irritable or agitated than usual. And I didnít dieówhich is a sure sign that it was not a black-widow bite.

Female black widows commonly, but not always, make a cannibalís meal of their harmless, undersized boyfriends after sex. Sheís hungry; heís available and easy pickinís.

Researchers have discovered, however, that big males do not become meals. Maybe the little guys should start bulking up with us in the mornings. Life is not fair.

A bite from the female black widow is venomous and potentially fatal, even to the likes of us.

Males are defenseless against hungry, aggressive females. That sentence should not be taken as ideological in nature.

I try to keep on the good side of all females who hide in my shoes. I feel the same about males.

Maybe, a deal can be struck. Iíll agree to stop squashing spiders, and, in return, theyíll agree to stop biting me.

Maybe, world peace is not that hard to figure out.
Curtis Seltzer is a land consultant who works with buyers and helps sellers with marketing plans. He is author of How To Be a DIRT-SMART Buyer of Country Property at where his weekly columns are posted. He also writes for

Contact: Curtis Seltzer, Ph.D.
Land Consultant
1467 Wimer Mountain Road
Blue Grass, VA 24413-2307

This original column is provided free for one-time use with author credit at the end. It may be used for background with author credit. Copyright applies.

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