If you ever find yourself dreaming there’s a spider on your neck, wake up and CHECK THAT RIGHT OUT

Pretty sure this was the animal that was on my face

GateHouse — Important safety tip: If you ever find you’re having a dream in which there’s a spider crawling on your neck, wake up and check it out immediately. And I will tell you why.

(Yes I realize this is the second childish spider-related column in a few weeks for you regular readers — and hello again to Mom and whoever keeps coming across my blog looking for “drunk chimp” — but howsabout you wake up to find a spider crawling near your valuable face and offer me some judgey thoughts on topic selection.)

There I was, contentedly dozing away, adrift in an ever-shifting wonderland in my dreams and, if The Other People Who Live In My House are to be believed, snoring like a psychopath in the real world (IT’S A MEDICAL CONDITION, YOU GUYS ARE MEAN), when I noticed what felt like something foreign and small fidgeting about in my hair.

Now, this first happened when I was in a sort of half-dreamstate, the bleary, smudgy netherspace between Wide Awake and Apparently Being Chased By A Laughing Clown Through Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill. If memory serves, I was about halfway through a careening hellride on a roller coaster whose track had had not yet been completed  — apparently my dreams don’t have SAFETY INSPECTIONS — when I noticed, somewhere in the haze of anticipating an impending plummeting-based death, a sort of tickle taking place only my head. Having mastered inception, of course, I woke right up (#jokesfromlastsummer).



So, I checked and there were no spiders, and here that the true horror begins: How can you convince your brain, in the penetrating black of night, that there is not a spider near your face or, at the very least, in your bed? Option 1 — slapping around with your hands in the dark — is a less-than-optimal method of insect monitoring, and Option 2 — waking up your wife, turning on every light, getting the blowtorch down and tearing the room apart in a murderous frenzy — is usually not a good choice. So you’re basically forced to lie there, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling, convincing yourself that the better option is that your brain invents spiders while you sleep.


Related, sort of

• Large and possibly hairy spiders in your home: Squish, or release?

Well, I either have bedbugs or someone dropped an awful lot of raisins in here


This works, sometimes. It actually worked for a couple of hours, I guess, because by the time I woke up from THE SECOND DREAM in which something was crawling on my neck I was well into my REM cycle and a dream involving Anne Hathaway, which I was NOT HAPPY TO BE ROUSED FROM, SPIDER. Again, eyes wide open, frenzied cranial inspection, nothing; again, lying awake for 45 minutes.

Of course by this point a good night’s sleep is out of the question; by this point you have become a mutant, a bat, attuned at superhuman levels to every molecular-level blip of motion on your body, to every everything you’re feeling, to every tiny itch, to every brush of the sheets, things that happen to you a million times during the day, unnoticed, but things that in the black of night make it seem like you’re basically sleeping in a mound of fire ants. It is not a restful space. At one point the air conditioner turned on and my first instinct was to beat it to smithereens with a baseball bat.

And yet somehow sleep found me again, because when I woke up the third time, instantly, thwapping at my neck as though driven by instinct, my hand found something small and solid and smeared it.

And then a lot of things happened at once: First, I mentally cried, “VICTORY!”, and then I mentally whimpered “EW EW GET IT OFF GET IT OFF” and a lot of the dramatic hand-shaking you would engage in if you just touched something gooey that you were not expecting to be gooey, followed by “HOW LONG HAS THAT DEMON BEEN CRAWLING ON ME” and finally “THE BUG COMPANY NOW WORKS 24 HOURS A DAY.”


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

10 responses to “If you ever find yourself dreaming there’s a spider on your neck, wake up and CHECK THAT RIGHT OUT

  • Bubafettt

    Good thing I had no intention of sleeping tonight anyway.


  • jellyjules

    So did it bite you? Do you puff up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man when bitten by a spider? I’m glad you got the sucker. I have three comments to give on this, besides “ewwww!”

    1. I’ve heard it’s bad luck to kill spiders, and I’m kinda bleeding heart when it comes to such things. So if I find a spider in the house, I generally capture it and put it outside. Not the case if I’m in bed or the shower, but otherwise, yeah. Ted, however, just squishes them, no matter when or where he finds them.

    2. My daughter has the puffy reaction to spider bites, and there are tons of them around here. When she was little, she once called to me, “Mama, there’s a spider in my room….” And I went in to find it hanging from its web RIGHT OVER HER FACE. Stupid spider.

    3. When I was a kid, we were somewhat poor and I shared a room and a bed with my single mom. One morning I told her, “I had the weirdest dream that a mouse was running over me last night…” She looked at me, wide eyed, and said, “ME TOO”. Stupid cats. We had two cats. There’s no excuse.


    • Jeff Vrabel

      Despite frantic checking for eight hours yesterday, I don’t think I was bitten. My brother got chomped by a brown recluse once in high school, though, and his leg looked like piece of poundcake for a month. It was gross. Please tell me you had a STERN TALK WITH THOSE CATS


  • Brian DeNeal

    I had a similar thing happen last night when I rested my arm on the bed, felt a slight sting and was itching at a series of raised welts on my arm for many minutes. This morning I remembered the incident, inspected my arm, nothing. Then on the way out to work a tree frog gripped my thumb and held on with his little sucker pads until I flung him off, he landed in the dog’s cold water, immediately went into hibernation whereupon I retrieved him and returned him to his tree.


  • aspasialibertine

    Not childish at all. Spiders only rank slightly below zombies in Things That Herald the Apocalypse. But, why do you keep posting pictures of them (and a close-up glamour shot, no less)?! We all know what Public Enemy #1 looks like, thanks.


  • jennygoth

    i hate spiders i had one on my shoulder once the screams were heard in outer space xxjen


  • Why All Of These Face-Chewing People Aren’t Signs Of The Zombie Apocalypse, Probably « Jeff Vrabel

    […] • If you ever find yourself dreaming there’s a spider on your neck, wake up and CHECK THAT … […]


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