Chapter 26
Bite Me
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

Bite Me!

August 2002

Welcome to Texas. Welcome to Texas, *y'all*! In your house today, you will be accompanied by one of our indigenous spiders. You like spiders, don't you? Spiders are our friends. Spiders are always preying on something else that we'd rather not have in our houses, right? A big spider with eight legs eats a lot of little things with six legs, yum, yum, and keeps them away from us. No more creepy crawlies for us, eh?

Well, sure. But let's not go too far. This one that's accompanying you today, the indigenous one I mentioned, well, he bites sometimes. He looks cute, and he has a really cute name, the brown recluse spider. He just has this bad habit of biting. He bites the things that he eats, and he bites people, too, which he doesn't eat. I mean, I suppose maybe if the size relationship were reversed. . . . You saw that movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, years ago, right? Okay, okay, let's not think about that.

Bad bite? Well, kinda. Oh, no, no, not poisonous. No, no, no, no, not at all. Well, maybe just a little. I mean, no one dies from it. Well, not *no* one exactly, but not many. Yes, some. Yes, you could, I suppose. It really bothers people who are allergic to it. You aren't allergic to a lot of things, are you? Oh, every week. You see an allergist that often, really? I see. Well, I wouldn't worry about it, it's just a little, bitty spider.

What? You've already been bitten by it? Oh, my. Well, that does put a different complexion on things doesn't it. Where? Oh, that does look, um, kind of nasty, doesn't it. That little volcano thing on your arm, it'll clear up in a while. But you really ought to have it looked at. This particular spider's venom, well, it, uh, it dissolves tissue. You know, dissolves the cells into a goo that really isn't live cells anymore. And so the gunk turns, uh, black. Yes, the white stuff at the top of the volcano turns black. Well, yes, it is just like gangrene, though we prefer to call it, um, necrotic tissue. And that's the problem if you're particularly sensitive to it, it doesn't stay in a confined area but tends to spread unless it's cleaned out. I had a friend once who didn't pay any attention to the thing and then woke up one day and his left leg was all discolored and we took him to the emergency room and they said that it was a good thing he came in that day because the next day he would have been dead.

Oh, um, you probably didn't really want that much detail, did you. Sorry. I'm sure you'll have no trouble with it, but just in case, you probably should have it looked at.

Oh, what's that other thing there, on your leg?

Three weeks later.

Yes, the dermatologist said, they are brown recluse spider bites. And, yes, they do tend to be nasty sometimes. You probably ought to take these antibiotics for a week and blah blah blah blah. So four-plus weeks after the bite, I still have a lump there and a permanent scar. Two. And I'm stocking up on Raid.

Welcome to Texas.

Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, Richard Ball Landau. All rights reserved.