I am going to run this under the assumption that everyone knows Aesop's fable "The boy who cried wolf."
But just in case, a young boy was herding sheep and decided to holler out that a wolf was attacking his flock.
When villagers came to help him, he laughed at them, thinking it was funny that they had to come help fight off a non-existent wolf.
A wolf finally came, and no one responded to his cries for help.
So, as I have mentioned before, my wife does not care for insects of any kind (she doesn't even like butterflies -- what girl doesn't like butterflies??).
Anyways, any time she comes across a bug in the house, her default reaction is to scream.
I'm not talking the run-of-the-mill yelp, it's a blood-curdling scream worthy of a cheaply made horror flick.
It's the kind of scream that will make any self-respecting husband or boyfriend come running to help.
It's the kind of scream that a brain always registers as a life or death scenario.
I respond to the scream, do any necessary smashing (in the house), and walk away as the knight in shining armor. The hero that defeated the monstrous spider, the scourge of the bathroom floor.
For the first four years of our relationship, I approached it with calmness.
That changed once the boy came along five years ago. That's when I started to interpret the screams as though something had happened to one of the kids.
In these situations, I move faster than I knew I was capable of. The Flash has nothing on a parent who thinks their kids are hurt.
I've been running to that scream for almost nine years now, and this is where Aesop's fable comes into play.
I have become de-sensitized to the screams, to the wife who cries wolf.
The last instance came last week.
If my memory serves me, she was doing laundry while the kids were logged into their imaginary play world.
I was getting ready to mow when the scream broke the quasi-silence of a two-child household.
Shaking my head, I ignored it.
That's when the boy came running to fetch me, talking so frantically that all I could gather was the words "big" and "spider."
I told him to squish it, but the fear in his eyes at my recommendation told me that we weren't dealing with a typical enemy.
Grudgingly, I followed him to the scene of the crime.
It was the biggest spider I've seen besides tarantulas at a zoo, or pictures of camel spiders in the desert, silver dollar big.
Without hesitation, I did the deed. The combination of squishy and crunchy under my feet oddly reminded me of one of the many reasons why I love my wife -- she needs me.
Yes, she is fully capable of smashing things, but if I'm around, she doesn't have to.
Back to "crying wolf."
I'll probably be in trouble for saying this, but I think it becomes a habit for most men to ignore what comes out of the significant other's mouth.
But, as the villagers learned to not listen to the boy over time, doing the same at home can build a divide.
It doesn't matter how many times the wife cries wolf, I'll be there so when the wolf (or giant spider) does pose a real threat, I can do my best to keep it from getting my sheep.
Jesse Murphy is a reporter for the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at email@example.com