Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40

Some guys get really fired up about spiders and stuff

 

November 2, 2018

Halloween has brought out all the spider decorations, but a man in Fresno, California, who was house sitting for his parents, had a problem Oct. 24 with real spiders, a problem he felt compelled to take care of himself. With a blowtorch.

To be honest, the story, the visuals, the laughs, they just about write themselves after that last part.

The details are pretty standard and, frankly, on the lighter side of tragedy. No one was killed or injured, no other structures or acreage caught fire, the house sustained damage to the second story and attic and the house and neighborhood were nice enough that the odds are the parents had decent insurance. And to be fair, the spiders were black widows, so the guy may yet be forgiven.

Sure. It could happen - it's not like he was freaking out about a couple daddy long-legs meandering across the floor.

Here's the thing, though, the whole "man burns something up trying to kill spiders or other pests" is a common theme. When you add in burning vegetation like weeds, brush and branches, that opens up the data set exponentially.

If you start typing in a Google internet search with "Man sets" the auto-finish feature automatically pops up "Man sets house on fire" as the first item on the list. This does support the argument that the issue is, in fact, a trending issue.

Man uses blowtorch ... . Man uses gas and a lighter ... . Man uses aerosol hairspray and a lighter ... . Man uses fireworks ... . Man uses explosives ... to burn spiders, wasps, leaves from his rain gutters, hornets, weeds, rodents, a badger, et cetera and so on.

And then the house catches fire.

Youtube also has a video from a gas station surveillance camera of a guy in a Detroit suburb who started his car and a gas pump on fire when he decided to use his lighter to burn a spider ... at the opening to his gas tank ... while he was actively pumping gas into that gas tank. For real.

This issue may warrant a public service ad campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association - maybe a catchy retrospective mash-up of the old Dick-and-Jane readers meets Primitive Pete from the Disney cartoons meets Goofus and Gallant from "Highlights Magazine."

Maybe we can get Charlotte the spider to spin a web that says "Put down the flame. Call a professional exterminator. Terrific!"

Not that I'm trying to imply that guys need the message presented with child-friendly simplicity, it's just that this format is easy for all people to understand.

And women set these fires, too, so this isn't just a guy-related problem.

That said, though it should be pointed out that the top Google auto-finish listing for "Woman sets" is actually "Woman sets fire to husband," so that's out there trending in the world.

"Woman sets fire to house" is the second choice in the list.

Interestingly, on the issue of women using fire-as-an-unhealthy-solution-to-a-problem, I have to point out that one of the first articles that pops up under "Woman sets fire to house" is an article about a Milwaukee woman who set her home on fire to flush her boyfriend out of the house.

I'm making no gender-biased judgment here. I'm just reporting facts. Now I'm moving on.

--

No flames included because that's how we roll at [email protected]

 

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