It Could Be a lot Worse…


Preface: This post is not for the faint of heart.
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Thank you for joining me for today’s episode of “It Could Be a Lot Worse.”

Whenever I’m miserable, I always try to think of a way I could be more miserable, and it usually helps me take off my grumpy pants pretty quickly and move into gratitude. (As evidenced in a post I wrote over a year ago: The Journey to Mazatlan.)

My mosquito bites are making me miserable*.

If you’re ever in the mood to practice self control, fly yourself on over to the DR and shake hands with a few mosquitoes. And then after they have venomously sucked your blood and left dozen of marks on their new-found territory (aka, your epidermis), try not to scratch the bites. In fact, cut your fingernails so you can’t scratch the bites. So there you have it–the world’s most challenging lesson in self control.

I know you’re going to think this must be an exaggeration, but I literally have WELL over 100 mosquito bites. I counted about a two weeks ago and I was at 79. By mid-morning of the next day I had at least 30 more. I’m sure I’m nearing 200, but I figured I’d estimate low for my sanity (and yours).

So as miserable as I’ve been having all of these mosquitoes CONSTANTLY swarming around my body, the moment I start to get so annoyed that I’m tempted to cuss, (yes, I am actually that aggravated with them) I just think to myself, “This could be a lot worse. I could be warding off poisonous spiders at every turn…ugh….now that would be a lot worse.”

And suddenly the sting of the mosquito itch bothers me a lot less. The buzzing of the mosquito wings makes me much less batty. And…here it comes: the the nuisance of my mosquito companions actually drives me toward gratitudeI mean, if I have to pick a battle, I would pick it with almost anything that has any number of legs OTHER than 8.

So that brings us to the other night when we were all sitting around in the common area and Joe looks at me and says, “So have you seen a tarantula yet?”

I’m pretty sure time came to a screeching halt, the earth quit rotating, and the moon quit illuminating light. I stared back at Joe blankly, “Excuse me?”

“Have you seen a tarantula yet?”

“I’m sorry…WHAT? You’re kidding me, right?”

“No, not at all.” Joe says quite bluntly with his usual matter-of-fact way of communicating.

I glanced at Adrienne, Joe’s girlfriend, to confirm whether or not he was pulling one of my mosquito-laden legs. “He’s right…” she said with an apologetic smile.

“You only see them every once in a while,” he calmly explained.

“How big are they?” I probed.

With that, Joe kind of smiled and held his hands together to form a circle with about a 7” diameter.

“You’re kidding me.”

“Not at all,” Joe laughed.

And that brings us to the next evening. It was a cool night (and what I mean by that is, I only had a thin layer of sweat covering me rather than beads of sweat dripping from every square inch of my body) so Brian decided to take a swim and I dangled my feet in the water beneath the moonlight to try and cool off my itchy legs that were burning as if they had literally been set on fire.

The security guard was walking his normal rounds when suddenly he picked up his speed and was clearly concerned about something. With alarm, he started rushing toward something. His eyes were focused on the ground in an open grassy area so I was never concerned for a moment that there was an intruder or anything like that. I followed his gaze to the ground which is when I saw this large shadow scurrying across the grass. I would recognize that eight-legged trot if I were blind-folded in a dark room–it was totally a spider.

No, wait. It wasn’t “a spider”.

IT WAS THE WORLD’S LARGEST 8-LEGGED CREATURE THAT I HAD EVER SET MY EYES UPON.

It was a mammoth. And my conversation with Joe came flooding back to my mind as I realized I was face-to-face with a tarantula.

Well…when I say “face-to-face,” I mean from 50 feet away. But do you realize how BIG a spider would have to be for me to see it in the DARK from 50 feet away? So though we were 50 feet away, I was practically face-to-face with him. And it was positively the most disgusting face I have ever seen.

I bet you want to know what happens next, don’t you? Well the security guard takes the stock of his gun, lifts it high above his head, and starts slamming it against the monster over and over and over again until he was satisfied that it was dead. I was laughing and cringing with every blow. He then scooped it onto the barrel of the gun and again, from 50 feet away in the dark I could see the silhouette of its EIGHT, GIANT, FURRY, THICK legs dangling over his gun as he carried it off the property.

Whelp, I suppose it’s time to play another round of, “It could be a lot worse…” 

* “Miserable” is defined as: “We are loving our time here in the Dominican Republic, but are hating the mosquitoes that pervade every aspect of our lives!” But it was much more satisfying and took up a lot less space to just write, “miserable.” 🙂

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