My greatest childhood fear? Being bitten by a radioactive moth

(It’s Sunday and a time for reflection, unless you’re so hung over it hurts to look in the mirror. It’s also the time we dig deep into the archives during another Flashback Sunday, revisiting a column or blog post from the days back when I thought “Freshly Pressed” was a site for French press coffee snobs…)

I still live in fear of being bitten by a lame radioactive insect, like the newly discovered “Poodle Moth.” (goggles are optional)
For most of us, there comes a time in our lives when we must face the truth, and accept the fact we will never actually possess any type of super-human powers. This includes the ability to fly, shoot laser beams out of our eyes, or look good in a skin-tight costume.

As a child, I spent countless hours thumbing through comic books and dreaming of the day I would be bitten by a radioactive insect — and knowing full well that, with my luck, it would probably be something stupid like a moth:

“Curses! It’s Moth Man, here to foil my evil plans! HOW CAN I STOP HIM? Hey — maybe I’ll try this porch light…”

In fact, I was so sure that I would end up as a lame super hero that, with the help of my friends, we came up with a plan to MAKE me into “Spider-man” before there was any chance of me being bitten by a radioactive moth, ear wig, silverfish or stink bug.

Our plan was simple.

Step one: Find a spider — preferably a small one — and expose it to high levels of radiation.

Step two: Make it bite me.

Now, finding just the right spider proved tricky. That’s because there were certain genetic traits that I did not want incorporated into my DNA. For example, really hairy spiders were out. So were those spiders with the big squishy bulb in the back. Maintaining a secret identity was going to be crucial, and trying to do that as a seven-year-old with a giant rear end and thick body hair would be nearly impossible

After eventually capturing the perfect spider specimen, it was time to expose it to high levels of radiation. This, of course, meant gaining unfettered access to the most potent source of radiation at our disposal: The microwave oven.

Since there’s a good chance that many of you are actually reading this at breakfast, I’ll spare you the details and just tell you that I never ate out of that microwave again. I also never gained any super powers. I did, however, gain an appreciation for the super powerful absorbancy of Brawny paper towels.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because of an incident last week that proves that there ARE those among us who aren’t willing to give up the dream of having super powers. According to a CNN report, a man entered a bank in Utah, walked across a lobby full of customers, and began taking handfuls of money from the vault without filling out a withdrawl slip — which he didn’t figure he needed to since he was completely invisible.

In fact, it wasn’t until being tackled from all sides by bank security and a mob of angry customers that he suspected his invisibility scroll, which he’d purchased from a “sorcerer” for $625, might not be working.

Though it’s true the incident ended badly for him, it’s a real positive for the rest of us if this is the direction that super villains are headed. Heck, maybe it’s time I pulled out my old Moth-Man costume?

Assuming it doesn’t have holes in it.

(You can write to Ned at, or at Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

55 thoughts on “My greatest childhood fear? Being bitten by a radioactive moth”

  1. Speaking of insects, is it true that there are these new mosquitos that are ginormous and all sorts of immune to bug spray or whatever? And they when they bite us we are going to get some terrible new diseases? And a friend on fb posted something up about how nice it would be if the government could make a mosquito that sucks fat instead of blood, which I’m totally down for….

    1. It’s true about the “super mosquitos,” which is frightening and means I may be called into action sooner than I thought. If they develop fat-sucking mosquitos, I want in on the ground floor of that company. But not the basement, because that would probably creep me out.

      1. I would love me a fat sucking mosquito but they would have to be controlled because I wouldn’t want to be sleeping on my left side and wake up lopsided from mosquitos in the night…

        1. Plus there’s that whole itchiness factor to consider. Imagine if you had your bumm worked on by mosquitos? How would you keep from scratching THAT the next day at work?

  2. I did read this during breakfast. Did you know Morning Glory muffins do not have the same flight trajectory as frozen raspberries?

    While I was picking bits of raisin and carrot from my monitor, I still did laugh at the image of you with a bulbous spider butt and thick hairy appendages. 🙂

    1. LOL! I haven’t seen too many studies on the trajectory comparisons between frozen raspberries and raisins, but, with your permission, I’d like you to be my control subject. Next week: Flax seed… 😉

                1. Indeed and absolutely, my friend. Thanks for sharing your wit. Now hurry before thee pill loses its effect. It wouldn’t be time I’ve been responsible for ruining sex.

  3. Moth Man! I love it Ned. And the nice graphic to go along with it. I grew up with 5 brothers, so we were always doing these sorts of experiments. We couldn’t for the life of us figure out why we kept getting into trouble, because we honestly believed things like nuking spiders in microwaves would make us superheroes.

    Really enjoyed this story Ned. I’m gonna be reading more of your stuff later tonight. Probably pour a nice tall glass of whiskey and have a grand time. Thanks!

    1. Haha! You know, I’m not entirely convinced that microwave spider nuking won’t work. Thanks for the kind words. And having a few belts a whiskey is probably a good idea 😉

  4. I can see your point about the bulbous spider bottom thingy … it is soooo not cool if you have to keep asking if your butt looks big in tights.

    And another thing … I never did get that tights wearing thingy that super heroes have. What is that all about??? Cross-dressing is another thing that is definitely not cool in super heroes. Trust me.

    1. Lol! If I looked that good in tights, I would wear them all the time.You know, instead of just at bed time when my wife and I have the house to ourselves… 😉

      1. What! Judy and Ned! My aunt/uncle was a cross-dressing super hero from San Francisco. He/She taught me everything there is to know about super heroes. He/She died with his/her tights on.

        Well done, Ned.

  5. damn it, i have always believed that i was invisible while wearing sunglasses, now i may have to just rethink this and get a grip on my behavior. thanks a lot!

    1. Sorry about that. That’s sort of like the movie “Mystery Men,” where one of the group’s superheros can turn invisible, but only when no one is looking…

    1. Yeah, I still think about it every once in a while. Especially when I know one of my boys has used the microwave recently. So, in a way, the spider is still getting its revenge 😉

  6. Dear Moth Man,

    I think you are incredibly hot, especially with those goggles! I have a back porch light staked out in central Florida, right outside the house of some crazy lady who calls herself Granny M. She’s old and forgets to turn off the light, so we could party all night long. Come on down!
    ps, I hope you like bigger she-moths, with fake Japanese accents. MUCH bigger she-moths! Oh, and pay no attention to those wires connected to my huge wings.

      1. Oh. Well, too bad. It’s a perfect night for flittering and fluttering around the bug zapper, too. In fact, if you’re sure you’re not coming, I think I’ll head over there now. Sometimes there are some pretty studly looking luna moths hanging around, being green and fuzzy and all. I’ll just spritz on a few pheromones and go check on….pzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzttttt! *thud*

    1. I totally get that. Sea horses are just plain creepy. What is their purpose? Who rides them, sea monkeys? And how come men have the babies? Yeah, you were justified.

No one is watching, I swear...

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