Friday, December 3, 2010

Words and Tales (and Spiders) and Lies, oh my!

Once upon a time, as all good stories begin, I was sitting in my car, with the younger two boys, waiting on my wife to find out how long the two teenagers (still in the church) would be. The boys were arguing, so to distract them from each other I started telling them about this giant spider I saw on TV recently: the eagle spider, so-named because it would spin its web across chasms to capture eagles flying through. The spider was huge, its body about the size of a man's head, and the webs were strong enough that, were a rock climber's rope to break, if he was lucky, he could find an eagle spider web and weave it into a rope which was usually stronger than the climber's original rope. Of course, if the climber had the misfortune of grabbing an eagle spider, he likely would be dead in minutes from the spider's venom. Not that they usually attacked people, no, they usually stayed to themselves, but would react in defense if a hand got too close.

They were interested, so I kept going, describing the odd coloring of the spider, which was green and purple. And, of course, its markings; like some spiders have violins or hearts or whatever, the eagle spider had a sort of bull's-eye target pattern on it. And markings on the bull's eye that resembled numbers; usually odd numbers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, but sometimes even numbers, or other patterns of numbers such as 1, 4, 7, 10, 13.

About this time my wife returned from the church with the news that the teens would be staying a bit longer (birthday party or something), so we would run over to Subway to get something to eat and then come back to pick them up. Of course, the boys were very excited to tell their mom about the fantastic new spider they'd just learned. By the time we got into Subway, the youngest, very excited, got to the coloring of the spider: "It's purple and green."

My wife: "Who told you about this?"

Youngest boy: "Dad."

Wife: "He Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiied!"

Now, you had to be there... the boy's face just drew up, slowly dropping to face the ground... I admit, I couldn't stop laughing. (I know, I know; evil father, bad dad... but it was funny!)

The "Eagle Spider" has been a recurring item of conversation ever since.

Now, lo and behold, I come across this article: "Gigantic Spider Webs Made of Silk Tougher Than Kevlar." Of course, I'm thinking, "Eagle Spider... no one's going to believe me when I mention this."

So, tonight, on the way home from seeing Tangled in ridiculously-overpriced-but-phenomenally-amazing-yet-definitely-not-quite-as-phenomenally-amazing-as-Avatar 3d, I mention the spiderwebs. And, of course, there is disbelief, and I can't stop laughing as I explain that I knew that no one would believe me, and the youngest - and my wife - are saying, "You'll have to show us before we believe that."

Well, at least I've taught my children some healthy skepticism, huh?

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