5 September 2011

I know it’s Labor Day, and we’ll get to that.

As I was taking my morning constitutional, walking my bike down a steep, narrow trail to the Tow Path, I noticed what I thought was an annoying fly, alternately lighting and jumping off my leg. I kept trying to shoo him away, but he kept swinging back, at which point I realized ‘Oh, damn, it’s not a fly, it’s a spider, and he’s attached to my arm or something’.

I’m not afraid of snakes, lions, tigers or bears, but put me in the vicinity of a spider or any other stinging or biting insect and I freak. The history is that when I was 5, my older brother thought it would be a good idea to knock a hornets nest out of our tool shed with a broom. The hornets did not take kindly to this project and stung him a dozen or more times in the face and head. A hornet is nature’s scariest looking creature, its face and thorax covered with bright yellow slash marks. Ask my brother about its sting.

I thought about trying to pick the silk thread off my arm, but then feared the spider would reverse-repell his way up to my finger and bite me, injecting a paralyzing toxin. I can’t say for certain he was deadly, as he had curled up into a ball so I couldn’t discern any of his markings, e.g., if he had a skull-and-crossbones on his back. Better safe than sorry: I stomped him with my other foot.

I was instantly flooded with remorse. I could imagine his Mama spider sending him off that morning with cautionary words: “Now, son, remember, don’t string that web across the footpath ’cause there’s joggers goin’ by all the time on the weekends, and one of ’em might get caught in your web, panic, and stomp you to death.” “Oh, Mama, you don’t have to worry, it’s Monday! Ain’t no joggers on the Tow Path on Week Days!”

There was not a single Op Ed in this morning’s Post written by a labor leader. I think that says about all that needs to be said about the status of Organized Labor.

Rupert Scofield


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