Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Bridge of Fear

Along with the heat, something new has arrived: spiders.

I don't know why, but I really haven't seen any spiders here in Iraq until now. Why is this relevant? Well, those who know me know that I'm terrified of spiders. Not just a little afraid, not just kind of uncomfortable, but completely and utterly terrified.

Nothing else scares me like that. Snakes? No problem. Wasps? Bees? Other bugs? Not an issue. Flying in a helicopter or riding a roller coaster? Sounds good.

Spiders? Bad.

So last night, around midnight, I was walking to the Dining Facility, and there is a small bridge that crosses a creek. The creek has a bunch of fish, and turtles, and other wildlife. Along the creek are rows and rows of tall reeds... maybe 6-10 feet tall in places.

On the bridge, however, there are spiders.

You see them at night. As you cross the creek, the bridge is well-lit with small walking lights. These lights attract bugs, and those bugs attract.... spiders. As I crossed the bridge, just about every part underneath handrail was covered with brand new webs, with fat spiders sitting in the middle of the web. It looked kind of like a horror movie, with well-spun round webs, with a spider in the middle of each of them. It gives me the willies to even type about it.

I'll be honest: when I saw this, I thought about not crossing. I didn't have to get food. I mean, I'm wasn't that hungry, and the spiders would be gone by the morning. But then I realized I was being ridiculous (sort of). I'm in a combat zone, and I'm afraid of spiders. So I crossed it, and have now dubbed it the "Bridge of Fear."

For good measure, I went to the PX today, and bought some spider spray. Well, it's actually called "Bug Stop," but it promises to kill many things, including spiders, "on contact." I read the directions, and plan to protect my room for "up to 9 months" with a treatment. I have to wait until tomorrow to spray the whole room, since it has to air out, but for good measure, I covered the front steps in front of my trailer, and the door frame. At least they can't enter by the front door tonight.

Man... rockets, mortars and heat are one thing. Spiders are another.


Blogger Larry said...

You big sissy!!!!

They are not those giant camel spiders are they. Those things would even scare a big strong brave guy like me!!


7:37 AM  
Blogger Salomé said...

This post was funny... :-D

I must admit, I'm just as scared of spiders. And here in Africa... oh boy, they're all over the place. :-o We have big black ones (they're about the size of my palm) and they have yellow spots and stripes on them. Urgh.

Hope the spray works. ;-)

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suck it up Soldier and make your Momma proud!

This story reminds me of when I was in Oklahoma City for Air Traffic training. I arrived in July. OKC has cockroaches! Big ones! And it isn't because you are dirty!

The first night I was there, I remember passing out from the exhaustion of driving and was sleeping on top of the bed. I felt a tug on my jeans. I felt another tug. Then, something tossed me onto the floor. Slam! I hit the floor and felt myself being dragged towards the door. As we got closer to the door, I was able to open my eyes from a deep sleep and see what was going on. Here were 2 gigantic cock roaches dragging me towards the door. And the one on the right says, "Let's get him out of here before the big ones come and take him away from us!"

From then on, I wasn't scared of cockroaches!

So, spiders are that big a deal. Look at how you are changing since you left used to be ok with flying, just scared of crashing. Now, you fly helicopters, that if they lose their engine, soar like a 1970's VW Beetle for, well, about 30 feet. And they always land upright--except when they don't. And, when they don't land upright, they land sideways, which is always cool to watch on the movies as the rotor comes spinning around. But, that isn't going to happen to you.

You used to not like heat until you figured out that heat doesn't mean allergies.

And, now you are learning about spiders. Didn't you have to eat them in Desert Survival Training? Just think of the Bridge of Fear as passing one smorgasbord for the dining facility. No big deal.

Or, you could decide you want to be scared of spiders and then your punishment should have to be leading singing on Sunday night worship services!

That should get you motivated, Chris!

God Bless. Glad you are back on line. Was a little worried. Now I read you can't go on YouTube--that's too bad! (NOT)


4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can understand your fear, as my wife has the same fear. There are many times when I think our son has just fell off the house, when I arrive at the scene, I hear, "Kill it". When I look, small little thing. I dont like spiders though, and they usually give me a chill until I crush them with my shoe, or whatever is close. Just imagine them wearing Packers jearseys and crush them with your Vikings Shoe.
Now, my time in the dessert, we had made our own "Urninal". Now, as the heat started to get good, lots of bugs, flies and you guessed it, spiders like to hang out down in there. Guess what they do when there cool hang out suddenly is wet, yep, they rush out.

Great to see you even though only for moment. I cant wait to have you back for good so we can trade war stories.

Take Care

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...


The bad thing is I probably transferred my arachnophobia
to you!!!! I still will kill spiders with anything handy and just leave the shoe, magazine or whatever was handy over the dreaded spider and let someone else do 'clean-up duty'!!! Needless to say, I completely understand your fear - they are so ugly and nasty!!

Love you and miss you very much,


7:27 AM  

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