— —The other day, my buddy posted a picture of a black widow he'd found under the toilet in his warehouse.

I immediately did that thing — that measuring thing where you put your thumb and forefinger on the screen to see how big something is and then carefully move your hand back towards your head so you can see how much of your face the spider would cover. (Is that not a thing?) Anyway, in scientific terms the black widow was eyepatch-sized. But instead of being in a drawer with the eye-patches where it belongs, it was by the toilet where delicate undercarriages are regularly exposed.

Jeanine Fritz
Jeanine Fritz

As a kid-style child, I was terrified spiders were in the toilet. I was also convinced they were under my pillow, in the shower, in my bed and hiding in shoes. My family is full of deniers and spider apologists, however, and I was told to chill out. My father even laid down the classic B.S. that must be in a dad handbook somewhere: "They're more afraid of you than you are of them." (Of course, he said the same thing about sharks while teaching me to scuba dive, but guess who was eaten by a shark?)

Editor's Note: Bob Fritz was not eaten by a shark.

My kid brother made fun of me for flipping my pillow over every night and checking for spiders...until I found one. Then he shut his piehole and started checking with me.


Spiders in shoes? Yes, check. My friend Joel had a black widow in his deck shoe. I was there. It fell out of the porch light fixture he was jacking with and directly into his shoe. Some say he was responsible for the spider's location, but I know the spider was heading for Shoeville and decided to take the express route.

A spider has chomped me in bed while I slept no fewer than three times in the past month. And I won't tell you about the time I found a spider on the showerhead waiting to catch a wave directly into my hair, so I crushed it and started the shower, and realized he had Backup Spider hanging out at the top of the shower curtain, also by my head. (Okay, I WILL tell you that story.)

The truth I figured out at a very young age and cling to this very day: spiders want to eat your face off. They want to eat your face, and your mom's face, and your sister's face, and your uncle's face, and your dog's face, and your hairdresser's face. They want to eat ALL the faces.

My childhood fear of spiders still didn't seem unreasonable by college, so I decided to continue fearing them, in the way you fear something you absolutely should fear because it is reasonable — like Superman being afraid of public speaking. My horrifying visions had come to pass one after another, and Toilet Spider was the only one I hadn't yet seen in real life. And now I have proof of a black widow as big as an eyepatch waiting to bite someone's bum, knock them out with spider poison, and then eat their face off. I feel vindicated and would like to formally apologize to my little kid self on behalf of my entire short-sighted family. You were right, Kid. You win. Sorta.