Back in the day, like most children, I spent a number of years in elementary school. The director of the primary wing had a number of tarantulas that he kept has pets to the delight and/or terror of the other boys. I recall boys who were too terrified of his pets to even go in his office. They were never used to scare or threaten anyone. On the contrary, I imagine one of their purposes was to show that they were not, in fact scary and help to face fears.
He also had a bench that you would be sent to sit on if you were in trouble as you waited for him to counsel you. It was a grave thing to be told to go sit on Dr. Pelosi’s bench. As an experiment I once sat on the bench to see how many other boys would ask what I had done. Many, as it turns out. Also several teachers.
Until one fellow turned over a rotted log on our last little trip to St. Thomas I had never seen a tarantula in the wild. Even all these years later my first thought was “Oh, I bet Dr. Pelosi would love this.”
It got me wondering though: given the reputation Dr. Pelosi had, his unique pets, and our impressionable age at the time, I wonder how many of my former school mates are now deathly terrified of benches?