I have just had a very animated conversation with several fellow staff members about the disposal of a large and terrifying centipede (they are all terrifying) discovered in the stacks here at the Museum of Amazing Stuff. My advice to the trembling staffer who found it (and bravely trapped it in a zip-lock bag)? “Drop a book on it.” (This is the technique I used when sorting books for the university book sale and frequently had to cope with silverfish slithering out of the donation boxes. I kept a damaged-out reference book close by for silverfish-dispatching purposes.)
Anguished cries of “Nooooo!” were heard, however, from my other co-workers, all of whom emphasized that the centipede should be live-trapped and humanely released outside. Apparently my reasoning that it is a centipede and therefore verminous is false: it is one of God’s little critters and has a place in the choir, along with Kermit and Mr Fusspot and what have you. I bowed my head meekly as I was dubbed Grim Reaper. I promised that I would never again interfere with another staffer’s method of coping with centipedes; but reiterated that if the centipede was fool enough to show its multiple legs around me, it would never know what hit it. Spiders are allowed to live in my world, to honour the memory of Maxine, my tarantula, but centipedes are not spiders. And they are revolting.