SANTO ANTONIO da PLATINA, Brazil - Welcome to Brazil. Here's your amulet and electrified umbrella.
Those of you planning a getaway to someplace not beset by the winter's discontent might want to scratch Brazil off your list of destinations. It seems that while Nature dumps her frozen fury on our nation's northeast, Hell hath another torment wrought on our Brazilian brethren. Trust me on this, it's true.
Ok. Not actually. There are not little arachnid droplets falling from clouds. There are, however, veritable hordes of cooperative spiders, a million-legged menace dangling from electrical lines and all manner of overhang, forming what spider-behaviorist-types call "sheet webs." At least one Brazilian town currently teems with Anelosimus eximius, a species well known to science and, one presumes, to Satan.
I don't give much credence to End-of-Times nutjobs, the kind of guys who encourage you to stock up on canned fruit, heavy artillery and duct tape. I don't believe in Mayan prophecies, global conflagrations or horsemen of the apocalypse. I do believe that spiders are icky. I believe, moreover, that spiders by the gazillions building communal webs to trap everything that moves are ickier still. Ickiest of all is the fact that A. eximius cooperate like octopedal Borg in the construction of said webs and the consumption of prey vastly larger than themselves.
I've always wanted to visit Brazil. My wife and I have discussed attending either the 2014 World Cup or the 2016 Olympics in that country. We have even considered wintering their when she finds a million dollars in drug money stashed beneath a seat on the trolley.
Those plans might never come to pass. I don't care if David Beckham in his underwear is bending corner kicks around Django Reinhardt's re-animated corpse, something I'd otherwise pay to watch -- I'm just never going to a place bewebbed by cooperative spiders.
Note to Brazil: The world is coming. You need to deal with that whole spider thing.