It’s one of those long, gross, creepy-crawly things with a lot of long, gross legs– a fairly common occurrence in the Pennsylvania countryside.
[Note: these bugs are apparently so common that if you Google "bug in bathroom Pennsylvania long legs" you will see exactly what I'm talking about.]
I’ll be honest with you:
I’ve flushed a number of these bugs down the drain in my day.
I don’t know how they get into the house.
I don’t know how they get into the tub.
But I do know how they’re leaving: Water slide.
While it’s not exactly the same as crushing it to death my shoe-clad foot, I’m pretty sure the toilet or shower “water slide” is a one way ticket to the Great Bug Beyond.
Anyway, back to the shower.
This was the first one of these things that I’ve seen all year (according to the internet, they come out in the spring), and my immediate (conditioned) response (after the initial startle and sense of revulsion) was: Time for the water slide! Enjoy the ride, sucker!
But, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Maybe it was that chapter on “Ahimsa” (nonviolence) that I read in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali last night for my teacher training homework.
Or maybe it was the sight of this pathetic creature desperately trying and failing to climb the steep bathtub wall, seemingly in order to avoid the hot shower stream– over and over and over again.
In any case, the Truth of the situation caught me off guard.
I am that frantic bug, driving myself crazy, trying to scale an unscalable wall.
I mean, look–
I don’t know how this fellow got into the tub in the first place, but I know that he can’t achieve whatever his purpose in life is, so long as he’s stuck in there.
How often have I been that fellow utterly stuck in the tub (so to speak), unable to accomplish my life’s purpose?
(Often enough to know that said situation sucks.)
Furthermore, who am I to cut another creature’s life short, simply because I don’t like the fact that it happened to find its way into the wrong tub?
The fact of the matter is, what this bug needed more than anything else at that moment was a friend– an actual ally who has the power to literally save him from a bad situation (i.e., the water slide, i.e. the worst situation).
Yes, what this bug needed was me.
And I have known what it feels like to need an ally in a time of panic and despair.
So, I scooped the crawly thing up in a Dixie cup and set him free on the back lawn, to do whatever it is that creepy crawlies are here to do.
(For all I know, their mission in life is to find their way back into the plumbing system.)
I also needed him.
To teach me a life lesson in the way only nature can.
Did I do the right thing?
I’d like to think so.
What if it had been a poisonous spider or scorpion?
Certainly, the question is valid and vexing.
Is it my duty to kill that which can hurt me, before it has the chance?
This is one of those profound questions that has challenged the minds of philosophers for millennia.
I just don’t know.
I’ll have to think about it in the shower.