Unique Spider Infestation Threatens North AmericaON THE LIGHTER SIDE

Araqchnidas K-9itus

In honor of my recent birthday, I have chosen to interrupt my usual agenda with this public service announcement. Considering all the threats to America these days, all we need is something else, but here it is. A most unique species of spider knows as araqchnidas k-9itus, commonly called the “barking spider” has been showing up in record numbers in certain areas of North America. One of the unique features of this strange creature is its uncanny ability to avoid detection. In fact, no actual barking spider has ever been spotted, although scientists have generally agreed on what it likely looks like (see picture). It makes it presence known by emitting a wide range of noises, one resembling the barking of a dog, hence its name. Its other sounds range (softest to loudest) from one resembling a tiny miniature bugle as found in the new “Barbie Enlists” gift package to one resembling a victory march performed by the combined trombone, trumpet, French horn and tuba sections of the Ohio State Marching Band. Based solely on this range of sounds, one would conclude that the actual size of the barking spider (which for brevity I will simply call the “BS”) ranges from a newly hatched chickadee to a Ford F-150…pulling a large boat.

Equally bizarre is the correlation between the location of the outbreaks and the age of the person in closest proximity to the BS. Scientific studies have found that for some strange reason, the BS is being found with increasing regularity in areas with numerous retirement homes and assisted living centers, as well as most of southern Florida. I can personally attest to this age correlation. (Does anyone else see the irony of “increasing regularity” being a bad thing for this age group?) Studies have also shown that the BS seems to be attracted during the preparation of certain foods. Apparently, they especially enjoy onions, artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and a wide variety of beans. Wherever these foods are prepared, the BS will eventually show up. I personally have also discovered a strange correlation between BS infestation in my own home and my inability to resist stopping at the local Dairy Queen without my Lactaid tablets.

Truth be told, the actual extent of the infestation is probably much larger than is being reported. You have probably been in the presence of the BS without knowing it. You heard the sound and in typical shocked fashion responded with a, “What the #%!! was that? Well, now you know. I’ve got an idea. It’s time to catch these creatures in the act. Since you and your cell phone are probably seldom parted, the next time you hear one, look down (or no higher than three feet from the floor). Start snapping pictures like crazy. Maybe you’ll make history by being the first to spot one. Unlike the snipe and Bigfoot, they will be caught…eventually.

A few words of caution, however. If you think you’ve spotted one, for heaven’s sake don’t try to stomp on it. You’ll only make it mad and you’ll realize how frighteningly loud its bark can be. Your best bet is to snap a few pictures, then hold very still. And above all else, stay away from open flames until you’re sure they’re all gone. Just trust me on this.