I had a whole other paragraph here but I just deleted it because SCORPION!
So there I was, carefully typing out said paragraph, and I see a dark, moving object on the floor to my right. I knew even before I looked down what it was, since dark moving objects are only ever one thing in this house.
But here’s the worst part: It was moving away from my desk in a clear trajectory. You would think that the “away” part would be good, but, nay, it was in fact deeply troubling, as it indicated that only a few seconds before, the scorpion must have been RIGHT UNDER MY DESK. Where my FEET are. It is extremely important to my mental health that the space under my desk, which I cannot easily see unless I scoot my huge chair way back, remain a FEET-ONLY zone.
To give you an idea of what I’ll be fixating on for the next 1, 000 days or so, let’s take a moment to re-imagine me typing that paragraph in light of this information. Picture it like it’s a movie:
There’s the protagonist, smiling, dashing out her brilliant prose for her blog. You may have noticed that I’ve been slow to update the ol’ blog lately, she types. That’s because I’m so tired from getting up with a newborn that I’ve forgotten all of the English language except for about fifty words. Also, our house has been hit with a particularly disgusting stomach flu — but on the plus side, sometimes our two-year-old has to take a break from screaming and hitting me to puke. But I’m treasuring these moments since they go by sooooo fast!
Now the camera pans to her bare feet under the desk. We hear the clicking of her keyboard as we see the malevolent arachnid inch toward her toes. She pauses to come up with more scintillating content for her blog, and in the process stretches her legs. Her feet brush past the scorpion, missing it by mere millimeters. The scorpion feels threatened by the giant foot. It turns to engage, its dagger tail in the attack position, ready to plunge into the unsuspecting foot.
Just as it moves in for the kill, the protagonist thinks aloud about another possible sentence for her blog post. “I don’t even mind the fact that I also have a raging sinus infection, because I’m counting it all joy!” she says, which causes her to laugh so hard that she scoots her feet back just as the venomous point of the scorpion’s tail was about to be stabbed into her flesh.
If this were a good movie, it would end with the protagonist seeing the scorpion and promptly buying a new house. As it was, I screamed at Joe to come deal with it, which was unfortunate since he was evidently suffering from temporary amnesia in which he no longer knew that you can never, ever, ever kill scorpions on carpets:
Joe: [Raises up shoe and stomps on scorpion.]
Jen: That’s, uhh, that’s not going to –
Joe: [Angry scorpion now running at him with tail in the attack position.]
Jen: It doesn’t work to –
Joe: [Stomps scorpions a few more times. Scorpion stops moving.]
Jen: It’s not dead.
Joe: [Beholds silly woman and her crazy-talk with bemusement. Touches scorpion with tip of shoe. Scorpion jumps up and starts running at him again.] Whoa! This thing isn’t dead!!!
Joe eventually disproved the Can’t Ever Ever Ever Kill Scorpions on Carpets rule, but it was only after going all Michael Flatley on it for about five minutes. I maintain that the rule holds for me, though, as I would never try to kill a scorpion by stepping on it. I feel certain that I would somehow miss it and it would end up gripping onto my shoe with its little pincers, hoisting itself onto my ankle, then running up into the pantleg of my jeans, where it would sting my leg over and over and over again as I writhed and screamed in agony. (I assure you that this is only one of many things-going-horribly-awry-with-scorpions scenarios I have all worked out in my head.)
All this is a long way of saying: If my tone seems painfully strained for the rest of my writing career, it’s because I will henceforth be writing while holding my legs at least three feet off the ground.