Penelope the Missing Pregnant Tarantula

10 Jul

Alright you guys.  So today I was walking down my street in order to go get some frozen yogurt (I ended up deciding to spare my stomach and bought ice pops instead) when I came across the following sign taped to a pole:


Apparently there is a tarantula running rampant around my neighborhood.  No, scratch that, apparently there is a pregnant tarantula running rampant around my neighborhood.  One of my friends, Michael, said that he looked up the number and it appeared to go to a landline somewhere in Oklahoma,* so I suppose it could be someone playing a cruel, cruel joke on an old friend or something but whatever, let’s pretend that is not the case.  Let’s pretend, for just a moment, that there is, in fact, a pregnant tarantula named Penelope crawling around somewhere on my street, ready to pop out at any second.  You ready?  Let’s go.

So I don’t know if you guys really know how I feel about bugs.  The other day I found a dead roach under a suitcase in my bedroom and it took me upwards of two hours to somehow scootch it onto a dustpan and hurl it out the window.  I had convinced myself that it was likely to come back to life at any moment and exact its revenge on me for contemplating throwing it out the window by eating my eyeballs.  Or something.  I almost had my friend Ben come over to deal with it but I worked up the courage to be an Adult and Handle It.  I am not actually that much of a wuss but there are certain things that are simply above my pay grade.  Dead roaches and pregnant tarantulas are two such things.  So upon seeing the sign, snapping a photo and sharing it on social media I did what any reasonable adult would do.  I called my mother.

I don’t know if you guys do this when you call your mothers, but I tend to just launch into whatever it is I am going to tell her about without an appropriate greeting.  This is funny because my mother doesn’t use a cell phone and the landline phone she uses is insanely old, is the size of a brick and does not have caller ID.  Or, if it once did it no longer works.  The conversations go something like this

Mom: Hello?
Me: I was walking down the street and I stepped on a ketchup packet and the ketchup shot all over the place but somehow it didn’t get on my pants!


Mom:  Hello?
Me:  Seriously?!  What the fuck is wrong with the Supreme Court?!  Who raised these fucking guys?!

Or, in the case of this afternoon,

Mom:  Hello?
Me: There is a missing Mexican red rump tarantula in my neighborhood named Penelope and she’s pregnant!  What if I find her?!

I like to think my mom finds all this amusing.  At any rate, my mom and I then proceeded to have a 25 minute long conversation, 95% of which was centered around Penelope.  She said to me,

“You know, Rudy really should have spent more time on things like tarantulas rather than focusing on ferrets.”

I didn’t actually know what, or who, she was talking about but my mom knows all sorts of things so she filled me in.  Apparently Rudy Giuliani really hated ferrets and made it his mission to rid the city of them.  I knew nothing about this (although I can’t say ferrets are my favorite creatures) so obviously I did a little internet research and found this awesome rant.  You guys it is so funny, you really ought to listen to it.  He gets a call from this guy named David Guthartz from New York Ferrets Rights Advocacy (does that even make sense grammatically?) which is an actual organization that exists in real life.  I mean, ferrets are animals too and shouldn’t be mistreated and blah, blah, blah but I mean, really?  You can’t make this shit up.  Anyway, so Rudy calls the dude deranged and then elaborates on that with the following comment:

“The excessive concern that you have for ferrets is something that you should examine with a therapist.”

I know it really wasn’t very nice of Rudy but I could not stop laughing.  This was a thing that happened live on the radio and is now on YouTube and I can’t get over it. It is so good.  I might listen to it again.  But I have gotten off topic.  So my mom and I were talking about Penelope and what I would do if I were to come across her in the wild.  Would I scream?  Would I run?  My mom suggested that I mace her but given my track record with mace I thought perhaps that was not the smartest of all options.  After a little while of joking about Penelope and the possibility of hundreds of itsy bitsy little tarantula babies stalking around Brooklyn I walked past a vegetable garden and, noticing some patty pan squash I exclaimed,


My mom, understandably, thought I was still talking about Penelope and shared her concern that if I were to step on Penelope I could inadvertently pop her eggsack, sending baby tarantulas running all around.  Could you imagine?  There I would be, shuffling around my apartment in my ridiculous slippers.  I notice a tarantula, step on it, baby tarantulas spew all around and, likely, many of them go running up my leg.  What would I even do?!  Could you imagine?!  I can and it is absolutely terrifying.  It actually reminds me of a story.  So back in 2003 I was in Tanzania as part of an epic year of study abroad that I am pretty sure I have mentioned here before.  Anyway, a bunch of us were sitting around, chatting, when my friend Lauren noticed a big black dot on the big toe of her right foot.  She did what I think was the reasonable thing and squeezed it and out came a whole bunch of some sort of baby insect.  Some mommy insect had laid an eggsack under her skin and when she put pressure on it they hatched.  It was probably one of the most disgusting things I have ever witnessed.  I don’t know how she didn’t vomit.  I would have.  I would have vomited, then fainted, then vomited again, then probably choked to death on my own vomit all because some asshole insect laid a bunch of eggs in my big toe.  Ugh.  I am shuddering just thinking about it.

So anyway, given how things go for me in general I think it is highly likely that Penelope will somehow find herself into my room and make herself a little nest and then lay all her tarantula eggs and I will wake up in the morning, put on my slipper, feel something furry and realize that instead of a slipper made of synthetics I had tried to put on a slipper made of baby tarantulas.  So, stay tuned for that.  If I don’t choke on my own post-faint vomit and die I will write about it.

*I looked it up and it suggested a cell phone so, who knows.  Apparently the internet doesn’t know it all.  Or at the very least it gets confused sometimes.

4 Responses to “Penelope the Missing Pregnant Tarantula”

  1. David Guthartz January 29, 2016 at 1:47 am #

    First off, the organization’s name is New York Ferret’s Rights Advocacy/The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ferrets. Secondly, it is grammatically correct being that we are talking about ferrets as a species and their rights as a species. Thirdly, Rudy has a serious problem of having a Nepolionic complex. He is deranged and should be put away for the public’s safety.

    • FranklyRebekah January 29, 2016 at 9:13 am #

      Without getting too much (again) into my feelings about ferrets, I don’t think you can really say that Giuliani has a Napoleon Complex because although I would agree that he is overly aggressive and domineering, an important aspect of this theatrical complex is that the person be short. At 5’9″ I wouldn’t call him tall, but short? Nah. He’s just an asshole of average height.

      • David Guthartz November 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

        Napoleon wasn’t all that short either. The main point of all this is that government should not be telling the public what type of animals they can or can’t have in their lives. If you have what is needed to take care of them properly and safely there should be no issue. Let those of us in the various communities set the guidelines for the species that we know. Government can’t get it right for people so how can they be expected to get it right for animals?

      • FranklyRebekah November 17, 2017 at 11:48 am #

        Napoleon was 5’6″/5’7″. I feel as though that qualifies as short but whatever, I’ll chalk it up to semantics. I don’t really feel like getting into a policy discussion with you but I will thank you for reminding me of this blog post. It’s very funny.

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