There's this terrifying bit in Roald Dahl's Going Solo where he describes working in the desert and being taught to shake his boots for scorpions before putting them on.
I read this at age ten and it has always stayed with me. So much so that for years I have been shaking out my shoes, just in case there were any multipedes in there, ready to destroy my life. I've never shaken out anything more terrifying than a grass seed.
I performed my usual shoe-shake ritual: pick up the shoe, shake, bang on ground, visual inspection, shake, bang on ground again (to dislodge anything with grappling hooks), quick poke with hand (why this less dangerous than with a foot is not clear to me), second visual, shake, bang on ground a third time, then put shoe on. (Repeat with second shoe. Mow lawn. But we're not up to that yet.)
I noticed on the sometimes-used third visual inspection, a particularly stubborn grass seed drop back into the toe of the shoe. A quick hand poke dislodged nothing. On the fourth visual inspection, I saw it, nestled up under the tongue.
A true-blue redback spider.
Yes, after all the hand-poking and shaking and banging and visualising. That thing was probably chasing my big, soft, pink hand out of its huge comfy nest after each poke. It was probably planning an Aliens-style den of terror and venom. I half expected to see Hudson tumbling out of my old sneaker tossing grenades over Ripley's head and squealing 'Game over, man! Game over!'
Then I went around the entire house and lacquered every single spider-sized hidey hole with very toxic bug spray. I would prefer my family died of poisoning than redback spider attack.
Now my feet smell permanently of insect repellent and my years-long shoe ritual just got longer.
Thanks, Roald Dahl. You saved my feet (and possibly my life - it was a pretty big spider).