Friday, September 11, 2009

Revisiting the slaughter policy

When I was a child I thought as a child and my slaughter policy was as follows:

1. Don't kill anything cute.
2. Kill other noncute things whenever you are brave enough to do so.
3. Don't kill any spiders.

This last bit is completely Roald Dahl's fault for having James say this:

Should her looks sometimes alarm you
Then I don't think it would harm you
To repeat at least a hundred times a day:
I must never kill a spider
I must only help and guide her
[and invite her in the nursery to play]

So, okay, that's fair (apart from the last line which I have bracketed off as obvious lunacy). Spiders do helpful things, and I like helpful things. I am not necessarily afraid of spiders. I mean I do not want disgusting spider babies running all over my apartment LIKE SOME PEOPLE, but I don't see a spider and start crying and hyperventilating or anything. That's why the third item on my policy was there.

And then I became an adolescent, and grew to understand nuances of good and evil, and I revised my policy thus.

1. Don't kill anything cute.
1a. If something cute is going to die anyway you may run it over with your car as I learned when my mother had to do this to a little bird my cat was playing with.

2. Kill other noncute things only if they are in your territory. I.e., if you encounter a wasp inside, it is a villainous invader of your personal space and you can kill it because it's icky. If you encounter it outside, like an ant on a picnic, you are in its space and it legitimately has the right to crawl on you or whatever.

3. Don't kill any spiders.
3a. However, you don't have to have them in your house. If you find one, mercifully scoop it up on a Kleenex and put it outside.

Now I am a grown-up and I have had to make changes again. Things are more complicated when you are an adult. They are. Viz:

1. Don't kill anything cute.
1a. If something cute is going to die anyway you may still run it over with your car.
1b. If you do kill something cute by accident, immediately call your Hindu friends and let them make you feel better by assuring you it's going to get reincarnated as something better.

2. Kill noncute things if they are in your territory.
2a. Or if they bite you.
2b. Or get on you.
2c. Or if you just can't stand the sight of them (this includes all cockroaches everywhere).

3. Take spiders on a case-by-case basis.
3a. Don't put them outside. If they are inside they are probably house spiders, so the house is their territory too, and putting them outside will probably kill them.
3b. So if you're inside and they're inside, and you try to ignore them and they don't take the hint and keep hopping back onto your desk and ending up on your post-it notes and finally GETTING IN YOUR HAIR AND IF A SPIDER CAN DO IT THEN SO MIGHT A COCKROACH, you can feel free to kill them.
3c. And then if you slam a pack of post-its down on them really hard and they still walk away from it, feel free to scream obscenities at them. And at Roald Dahl too because it's all his fault. And then write a stroppy blog post about it.

Dear friends and family,

This blog post is a call for help. I CANNOT STOP SWEET HEAVENLY GOD.


anna said...

Good lord, Jenny.

I think the real issue here is that the spider temporarily startled you away from tvtropes

Jenny said...

Well, that was a problem certainly. You're right - why should I EVER STOP?