Monday, March 2, 2009

Are You Afraid of Bugs? A Message From The REAL Little Miss Muffet

Is the fear of bugs something we are born with? Is it in our genes or do we learn it from a squeamish mother? Inquiring minds want to know.

My bug phobia started when I was a small child. My mother claims that I have had this fear as far back as she can remember. I have uncomfortable memories of the other kids in the neighborhood capturing fireflies while I ran around frantically, looking for an excuse to stay in the house. How can you explain how a harmless moth can send me into fits of terror? Or how a spider can leave me with a week’s worth of lingering nightmares?

One of my most embarrassing “bug moments” was a screaming fit that I had on the quiet streets of a country in Europe in reaction to a dragonfly landing on my shirt. (I won’t mention the country in case they are still looking for me.) Then there was the time I sprayed a centipede with hairspray because it was in my bathroom and I couldn’t get past it to get to the door. The hairspray was all I could reach. It worked, however my husband had to peel the sticky critter off the wall when he got home. I won’t even go into my reaction to the locust invasion!

Growing up in a house with no air conditioning (I’m kinda old); our windows were always open in warm weather. I can recall closing my windows every night and carefully eyeballing every square inch of my ceiling before turning out the lights. If there was even the teensiest of critters, I would scream at the top of my lungs until my father came upstairs to rescue me. As an adult, the best way I have found to deal with the problem is to quickly, and without looking too closely, place an overturned trash can over the bug and leave it for my husband. (I can’t even look at a bug without shivering.) A few years ago we had a terrifying ladybug invasion and I ran out of trash cans and had to use jars and glasses.

Lucky for me, my kids didn’t inherit the bug gene. I say “lucky” because I have always been able to call upon them to come to my aid. This gene must have skipped a generation. I’m glad Protective Services never found out that, even when they were toddlers, I “used” them in this way.

“They” say that we should face our fears. If this means that I would have to expose myself to more bugs in order to “get over it,” to that I say, “no way!!!”

Is there any hope for my family?

Bobbie Hinman

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