I had a really hard time getting this post finished. Normally, I don't have a problem discussing my weaknesses -- including this one. The real problem for me was the realization that, in order for people to properly understand, I was going to have to find and post pictures. For an arachnophobe, staring at enlargements of spiders can get pretty uncomfortable.
Yep. I'm scared of spiders. I'm a pretty large guy, and in my lifetime, I've overcome fear of the dark, fear of heights, fear of bullies, of shame... even the fear of public speaking. But those little, furry, eight-legged bodies just scare the hell out of me.
Let me put it this way: Eight legs! Eight! What the hell needs eight legs?! And eight freaking eyes? Are you kidding me?! It's like God wanted to make a creature just for the singular purpose of staring down a man and saying, "Hi, puny 2-legged, 2-eyed person. I'm literally 4 times the creature you are, AND I'm still small enough to get under your shirt or up your pantleg before you have any idea I'm even there!"
In general, I'm a pretty intelligent guy. Intellectually, I understand that most spiders (i.e. the kind I'm going to run into on a day-to-day basis) really can't hurt me. I know that, if the little freaks even bother with me, at most I'll get a couple little bumps on my skin for a day or two, and life will go on. In my head I understand this.
That's why they call it a "phobia."
Now, don't get me wrong... the fear of some spiders is perfectly rational. Brown Recluse, Black Widows... it's perfectly reasonable to be afraid of run-ins with these critters. And as I said, when it comes to the others, I get it: normal people aren't afraid of them.
Of course, when normal people see a spider, they see a vaguely creepy, eight-legged little thing that eats houseflies and mosquitos. A regular, by-gosh boon to humanity and indeed the entire world.