a wolf with teeth bared
a wolf with teeth bared

Dear Paul, Unfounded aggressive reputation is ruining my life.

Paul Kiernan

For a long time, I have been labeled as aggressive. People claim that I move quickly toward them, and they say this makes me appear aggressive.

Dear Paul,

For a long time, I have been labeled as aggressive. People claim that I move quickly toward them, and they say this makes me appear aggressive. The reality is I have bad eyesight, and when someone is in my sphere, I move toward them to identify them. Now people run from me,      and there is always a huge brouhaha when I’m around. I admit to being rather anti-social, but I’m not aggressive or dangerous. How do I change my reputation? Also, you should know I’m a Hobo spider.


Eight Legs to Hold You

A spider on a web floating in the air

Dear Eight,

Well, my eight-legged friend, you’ve got some tough history and some serious scientific facts to contend with here. 15% of the world’s population, that’s roughly one billion people, have arachnophobia. Which is a fear dedicated to you and your kind, my friend. Them are some tough odds to beat.

The good thing is you’re not alone. It’s not just you that people are afraid of; it’s all spiders, big and small. So, I suggest you start by talking to some of your eight-legged friends and see how they deal with it. Perhaps they have developed coping mechanisms so that they don’t buy into all that spiders are bad; spiders are scary, negative propaganda. See how they have come to not accept that kind of talk about them, and maybe you’ll find some solace there. There is strength in numbers, and there are a number of you, but you need to communicate.

I’m not sure how sociable your kind is; I know there are some of you that are reclusive, but that doesn’t mean you cannot drop them a text and say hey, let’s get together and talk. Talking is vital in situations like this, it helps you to understand that you’re not alone in this world and that realization can be healing.

Being a spider, I’m sure you follow tennis. Remember all those tennis greats, McEnroe, Agassi, and Connors? They all had reputations for being aggressive, angry, etc., etc. Well, after time, their aggression was seen as drive and passion. See, they worked through it. They accepted their aggression, but they changed the minds of tennis fans. The days of polite tennis playing were gone, and in came who? The bad boys. The bad boys then became part of all sports and all of life. Micheal Bay made a series of movies about bad boys; being a bad boy was a good thing.

a camp ground with a yellwo sign rescding Hobo Camp

So, here’s what I suggest, work through it, stay your course, be yourself, and don't let anyone tell you you’re wrong or not worthy of love and care. Don’t listen to the people who won’t take the time to get to know the real you. If people are going to judge you by your looks or the speed of your walking, if people are going to listen to rumors or whatever “science” says about you, that’s nothing you can control, nothing at all. You cannot change everyone’s mind all at once. You have to change people’s minds one at a time. 

While you’re waiting for minds ot change, here are a few things you could work on to make you a little less scary to the general public.

You’re named Hobo Spider; maybe you need to capitalize on that. How about a little sack on a stick? A little red kerchief with some of your stuff folded up in it, and then you sling that stick over your shoulder, and off you go, looking like a Hobo from a kid’s book or Halloween. Who doesn't love a fun hobo knocking on the door? No one.

Also, maybe you could think about a new wardrobe. Maybe some bright colors in your daily clothing choice. How about a hat, a nice bowler, or one of those slightly crushed top hats to go along with the whole hobo image? That might be fun.

How about singing? Do you sing? Maybe you could start singing when you enter a room, you know; instead of silently scurrying about the walls, you sing a little jaunty tune. Maybe a show tune or two, that’d be fun. Just something that would make people look forward to your arrival. Instead of hunting around with spray killer, making sure you’re not around, if you start singing, people would be looking for you, really looking for you, because you’ve become a part of their lives and a part they look forward to, right?

The bottom line is you don’t have to be who or what others say you are. People are judgemental, and when they’re afraid, they lose the ability to be reasonable or see further than their own fears, you understand. So, it may take time, but if you keep being you, and keep your light shining, then eventually, people with see beyond the scary things and understand the real you.

Understand that only til recently, people called you the aggressive house spider; well, you don’t actually live indoors, and you’re only aggressive when going after prey. Also, they have come to realize that your bite, though painful, is not as dangerous as some of your compadres. See, it takes time, but minds can be changed.

And ease up on the biting.

I hope that helps.