I made Min kill a spider a few days ago. Usually, I avoid that sort of thing. (Karma and all.) But this spider was on the ceiling directly above my bed. Since I spent my entire childhood having nightmares about spiders lowering themselves from my ceiling to my mattress on strange, levered tire swings, the spider had to go.

Which brings me to the editing changes for 50 Poisonous Questions. The editor for this book is Catherine Marjoribanks, who seems both kind and wise. Plus, she has a wickedly funny website. Apparently, though, she doesn’t share my childhood spider issues. She suggests that I delete the following sidebar:

Peek Before You Pee
It’s not just a rumor. Black widow spiders really do like the damp, dark, and bug-rich recesses of outhouse toilets. Two-thirds of all black widow bites in the United States are received on victims’ buttocks, thighs, or private parts. Talk about a pain in the behind!

She says that if we don’t delete it, no 10-year-old reader will ever use an outhouse again.

So, of course, the sidebar is gone. Editors are generally right about these things, and I would hate to be the cause of ongoing bladder problems in North American youth. But… doesn’t EVERYONE check beneath the outhouse seat? Because I did when I was 10 and I do now and so should everyone else, in my humble arachnophobic opinion.

It may not appear in the book, but I offer you the Peek Before You Pee public service announcement here, free of charge, for your own protection. And I wouldn’t recommend sleeping below spiders either. You never know when they might get their hands (um… legs) on a tire swing.

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