Although the brooding anti-hero is more fun to write about and definitely more interesting in books and movies, as a kid I always loved the hero. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker and before that, Captain Marvel. I wanted to be a pure good hero and vanquish bad guys. I don’t know what my nine year-old son Jamie wants to be. But when he prays at bedtime he thanks God for all the animals. Sometimes when he’s done I ask him if he means even spiders. It seems he doesn’t mind them.
When I got to work on Friday I saw the preschool playground and stared in disbelief. The playground equipment, mostly all sturdy plastic play structures and playhouses had been ransacked. Most of the items had been disassembled. One tower was upside down and filled with parts from other structures. And many items were on the roof of the church. Obviously a group of people, possible older kids had gone and had their way with church property. It must have happened sometime after I left the previous evening and sunup that day.
I went into the office and asked if anyone had noticed. I was the first so I called the church administrator and he told me to call the police and report it. While I was waiting for the police to arrive I told the church receptionist how much this incident bugged me. I live right next to the church. I am the first responder when the alarm goes off and so far it’s only over-sensitive motion detectors. This trouble had gone down right next to me as I slept. Some hero I was. The receptionist assured me that it wasn’t my fault and I thanked her. I knew it wasn’t. But it still bothered me that I let this happen right under my big nose. I felt like I had failed somehow.
We determined that the men’s ministry would be able to re-assemble all the equipment the following day after the monthly breakfast. I met the deputy sheriff and it was decided that this couldn’t even be called vandalism. Nothing was broken, just disassembled and all the parts seemed accounted for. As I was thanking the police my phone rang. It was our receptionist. She apologized that she knew I was busy, but there was a spider in the mailbox. Once the police left I go the mailbox key from her, then I got a blue nitrate glove, bug spray and a paper towel.
I’ve seen black widows in there but this was just a brown spider. I still killed it with all the anger I had toward the mischief makers. When I gave back the mailbox key the receptionist thanked me and started to apologize again but I told her thank you instead.
“That’s one bad guy that I can take care of,” I said.
Jamie is right. Thank God for spiders. Not only do they eat bugs but they can be a scapegoat when a wannabe hero needs a villain to conquer.