Killer Jar

We were fascinated by killing bugs when we were children and we devised some pretty cruel ways of doing the killing.

The smallest bugs we’d kill were those tiny red spiders – about the size of a full-stop – that dash along the tops of walls when it’s sunny. We’d fry those by focusing a tiny dot of on their backs with a magnifying glass.

The other bugs we killed we called ‘smack bottoms’. They were actually wood lice but Michael Hughes and I lifted logs, grabbed a handful of woodlice and gave them a … smack bottom.

The weirdest and most elaborate contraption we used to kill bugs was called a killer jar. We’d tear up laurel leaves picked from Bryn Aber and pop the pieces into a jam jar. We’d throw in a daddy longlegs, screw the lid tightly and watch the poor spider die slowly from the laurel fumes.

I’m ashamed now of the killing and I don’t know why I did it. Is it human nature to take pleasure in this?

Mildred in 1971
Mildred in 1971

1 thought on “Killer Jar

  1. David Hughes:

    Don’t feel bad Gareth, it what kids do. Not their fault, just a lack of understanding of the enormity of death. You only have to read the press to discover that there are those who get a perverse pleasure from hurting people but they are older and should know better. Maybe it is in human nature but some manage to control it. Most kids have harmed some creature at some time when they were growing up but then learnt the right way as you did. Don’t feel ashamed, just thank God you learnt from it.

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