Behold, the all-important 10th blog entry! Yes, we've reached double digits and if you haven't read them all then you have some serious laughs left in the chuckle bank!...
There has been much debate in recent years over the “National Pastime”. Baseball was the national pastime for a century before yielding to “America’s Game” …American football. American football is not to be confused with “The World’s Game” which we call soccer and everybody else calls football. It’s all very confusing and there’s much to be said on the subject. Baseball happens to have been my first love, but the word “pastime” seems appropriate because true baseball fanatics are hard to find anymore. Football has taken over the national consciousness from high school to college to the NFL. Soccer has taken over the city of Portland in a way I never would have thought possible. But here’s what they’re all missing and I can’t think of a way any of them can close this glaring hole: none of these sports involve yelling at the top of your lungs at spiders.
Let me tell you a little story. My wife’s family has a long tradition of meeting at a park in Oregon City every 4th of July. Nearly every year the extended family (cousins and second cousins and first cousins once removed and great-great-great aunts and ladies named things like “Doris” and “Betty” and men with names like “Dick” because that wasn’t a funny thing to call people back then) gets together for cheap hot dogs and too much chocolate and old stories. Well, when I married into this family I began attending this every year and there was one common theme at each: I know 10 people out of 60 and I’ve seen all 10 recently so I really don’t have any catching up to do. Thank God Andy married Tara so I can have somebody to throw things at, whether that be a baseball or a football or a Frisbee or an insult or a stick. At least I’m not sitting on a bench pretending I’m interested in the grass I’m staring at.
Well, a couple of years ago during this picnic the kids were finally old enough to run around. They weren’t yet old enough to run off and do their own unsupervised thing, but they were old enough to circle the party making quirky noises and occasionally run into something hard/sharp/hot and start crying. That’s not the worst thing in the world because then you have the opportunity to hold them and console them and kill time all the while looking like a compassionate parent who didn’t just send your wild and crazy offspring running around to bash their face into a piping hot barbeque. Well, someone had the idea that it would be a good idea to send the kids off to go play in the tree next to the structure the party is held in. Before you go and judge “someone” who did this you have to understand that this tree is some sort of hemlock tree that isn’t really climbable. It’s not pokey like a spruce so the kids could go into it kind of like a tent and run around it kind of like little Indians (I don’t know why I wrote that but I’m not a racist…except when I’m trying to outpace my opponent).
Anyway…the kids are playing in and around this tree and I decide it will be funny to scare them. So I go up to the tree and I get behind where my son is and I yell at the top of my lungs. The 50 strangers probably looked at me like I was half nuts and looked at my wife pitying her for marrying this idiot but I didn’t see any of that.What I saw was the spider in the web in front of me flinch. By “flinch” I mean it raised a couple of legs in the air and flailed them around. “RAAAAH!”. I tried it again. Flail! “RAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!” FLLLLAAAAIIIILLL!!!!!
I was onto something…I was onto something BIG. So I found another spider and I yelled at it too. Flail! In fact, I found out, the louder I yelled, the more the spider would flailed around. This was great. Pretty soon the kids are yelling at the spiders. From a distance I’m sure we looked like idiots, but like I’ve always said “it’s better to look like an idiot from afar than be far from an idiot.”
So for the rest of the summer my son would find spiders in the backyard and as long as they were in their web we could go right up to them, bark loudly and watch them freak out. We started rating our Spider Yells by the number of legs that made it into the air. A 2-legger is a pretty weak effort. A 4-legger is about what you’d expect a girl to be able to do – sidebar: I’m not being sexist and saying that girls are worse spider yellers than guys…I’m simply saying that calling someone a girl is the same as calling someone a wus. Now when you can get a 6-legger you’re really making progress because now you’re talking about only 2 legs sticking to the web with a full 75% waving in the air. I’ve yet to see the holy grail of spider yelling, the 8-legger, which I would imagine means the spider full on falling from its own web. Maybe I should buy an air horn to see if this can truly be accomplished.
Here is the link to the YouTube video of some Spider Yelling…or if I’m really technical maybe I learned how to embed it after writing this. Please forward this blog and/or the video links to Spider Yelling to everyone you know. People will love you just as you now love me.
Spider Yelling 1
Spider Yelling 2: Extreme Spider Yelling!
My charge to you is to go out while there are still a few straggling spiders in the yard. Find one in a web and scare the hell out of it. Yell at the top of your lungs. Your neighbors will think you’ve lost your mind, but the joke’s on them because you will know you are enjoying the emerging movement of people who enjoy screaming not because of, but AT arachnids. You’re a pioneer in the sport of Spider Yelling. Yell loudly and yell proudly.