‘Honey, can you look at this?’

My wife and I have been married for almost 17 years. Thus, if I say, “Honey, can you look at this?” there is a good chance I’m going to ask her to look at something gross.

It’s not that I am trying to be gross. It’s just that, well, sometimes significant others are tasked with the unfortunate job of, well, looking at something. Something gross.

Such was the case the other morning when I felt a pain on the back of my thigh. I tried to turn around and look at, but merely found myself tilting around and slowly and clumsily turning in a circle.

I tried to use the bathroom mirror, but I couldn’t get close enough because of the counter, and I really didn’t want to have my wife walk in the bathroom as I stood on the counter examining myself in the mirror.

So I went to the old standby: “Honey, can you look at this?”

Fortunately, my wife does not mind looking at gross things and takes a very practical approach to it. She also is an ace at pulling loose teeth, which I find very high on the gross scale.

I went to the bed and plopped down so she could begin her examination I pointed back at my leg. “It’s right…”

“Ewwww,” she said.

I am not comfortable when my wife says “Ewwww,” so I immediately assumed that my leg had begun rotting away and that I was about to have everything from my neck down amputated.

“That looks like a bite,” she said.

I heard the shutter click sound from her phone. She handed me the phone, showing a picture of the back of my leg. (Ain’t technology grand!)

There on the picture I saw a small bump with a big red circle around it. I was pretty sure what that meant, but I consulted Dr. Google just to make sure. I am fairly certain I have been by a spider. But apparently this was not a supercool radioactive spider, as I am doing any cool Spider-Man type things. Rather, my only acquired superpower is the ability to sit awkwardly so as to avoid discomfort.

I went for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Google to determine what I should do next. The first thing most sites told me was to first identify the spider. That was going to be difficult since it did not have the courtesy to stick around. It didn’t even leave a note.

Online, I found lots of suggested treatments. Many of these, I am certain, were put up by people who were just trying to see if people would actually put papaya on their body.

Even if some of the suggested treatments were effective, I didn’t have papaya lying around, so that wasn’t going to work.

The most common treatment was to (1) really hope that it wasn’t a brown recluse or black widow (2) keep a cold compress on it (3) keep it elevated and (4) monitor it to make sure you are not about to die.

Step one was taken care from the get go. Steps 2 and 3 were a good excuse to kick back on the couch and a take Sunday afternoon siesta. I was pretty sure Step 4 would be a snap, because it had been a good while since my leg had started hurting, and I did not feel very close to death’s store, but rather just slightly uncomfortable.

I am hoping that the pain will subside soon, and I will return to my pre-spider attack self in no time. I will keep an eye on things, of course, just to make sure I didn’t get bitten by some sneaky spider that likes to let its venom lie in wait for a couple of days. Of course, as much as I would like to monitor this myself, I am full aware that I will have to use the tried and true method that has worked through the ages: “Honey, can you look at this?”
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C., and now lives in Charleston. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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