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Ugly Spider Latest Episode In Joke Book

Tue., May 23, 1995

Forget the Brady Act. This country needs a 15-day arachnid waiting period.

That’s because any terrorist wacko can march into a pet shop and buy a tarantula to hide under his best friend’s coffee cup.

I know. I’m a terrorist wacko who recently made such a dastardly over-the-counter spider transaction.

Pet shop goober: “So, which one of these babies do you want?”

Doug: “Um, how about that bloated, hairy one that looks like Roseanne.”

Before you could say, “Little Miss Muffet,” I paid $19.95 and left carrying a box that contained something out of the “Aliens” movie.

If only there was a cooling-off period. Some federal forms to fill out. A sanity hearing ….

Anything to make me pause and realize that I might end up with this tarantula as a permanent house guest. (Help me name my new pet. More on that later.)

The tarantula’s evil image, much like the attack on Sen. Phil Gramm, is the result of sensationalism by the liberal media.

Sure, Gramm may have tried to invest in a film featuring bare-breasted beauty queens. But the rumor that Gramm appeared nude in an off-Broadway production of “Hair” is completely unfounded.

According to my new book, “Tarantulas,” the big spiders are hideous, yet mostly harmless. Sort of the Michael Boltons of the spider world.

The bad reputation, however, makes these otherwise docile creatures perfect gag gifts.

Warning: To avoid messy lawsuits, you should avoid hiding tarantulas in nursing homes or cardiac-care units. Your victim must be exceptionally good-humored, and thick-skinned such as my best pal, Hoover.

Hoover and I have been engaged in a practical joke war since our college days.

The sack he gave me on my 21st birthday was the opening volley. It was full of something indescribably foul that he must have scraped off the yard.

I once countered by sticking a walkie-talkie inside his guitar. At 2:30 a.m., I stood outside his house whispering, “Hoooooover,” into the walkie-talkie’s mate.

His bedroom light went on. When I peeked in the window, a groggy Hoover was yelling, “hello, hello,” into his guitar.

He thought he’d made contact with Buddy Holly.

Operation Tarantula is the latest chapter in our tangled web of madness.

Placing the spider in Hoover’s house turned into a delightful family outing. My children, Ben and Emily, and their friend, Virginia Coble, helped coax it out of the box, which isn’t easy.

Tarantulas are as uncooperative as those surly activists who always show up at City Hall.

Emily solved our problem by dumping the tarantula into Hoover’s coffee pot and then jiggling the spider into the cup. (Hmmm. I forgot to tell Hoover to wash the pot.)

We quickly turned the cup upside down on his table and left, giggling like fiends.

I’d love to report that Hoover came home, picked up the cup and promptly wet himself.

Unfortunately, the man is far more desensitized than I dreamed. The spider plopped out, scuttled across his white Formica and all Hoover could yell was, “That miserable Claaark!”

He brought it back to my house and said: “If you think I’m keeping a tarantula you must be nuts.”

So now I have a fat, ugly spider to go with two cats and a cockapoo named Elvis.

Thank god for a very tolerant wife.

I’m out 50 bucks for a pink cage, fancy rocks and the book. I’m buying crickets. Lord, this thing is a cricket-eating machine.

The worst is wondering how Hoover will strike back.

I caught him eyeing me strangely the other day. I thought I heard him mumble the word “snakes.”

Help me name my tarantula. Dial 459-5432 and leave your ideas with your name and telephone number.

Tags: column, hoax

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