Important safety tip: If you ever find you're having a dream in which there's a spider crawling on your neck, wake up and check it out immediately. And I will tell you why.

Important safety tip: If you ever find you're having a dream in which there's a spider crawling on your neck, wake up and check it out immediately. And I will tell you why.

(Yes I realize this is the second childish spider-related column in a few weeks for you regular readers — and hello again to Mom and whoever keeps coming across my blog looking for "drunk chimp" — but howsabout you wake up to find a spider crawling near your valuable face and offer me some judgey thoughts on topic selection.)

There I was, contentedly dozing away, adrift in an ever-shifting wonderland in my dreams and, if The Other People Who Live In My House are to be believed, snoring like a psychopath in the real world (IT'S A MEDICAL CONDITION, YOU GUYS ARE MEAN), when I noticed what felt like something foreign and small fidgeting about in my hair.

Now, this first happened when I was in a sort of half-dreamstate, the bleary, smudgy netherspace between Wide Awake and Apparently Being Chased By A Laughing Clown Through Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill. If memory serves, I was about halfway through a careening hellride on a roller coaster whose track had had not yet been completed  — apparently my dreams don't have SAFETY INSPECTIONS — when I noticed, somewhere in the haze of anticipating an impending plummeting-based death, a sort of tickle taking place only my head. Having mastered inception, of course, I woke right up (#jokesfromlastsummer).

So, I checked and there were no spiders, and here that the true horror begins: How can you convince your brain, in the penetrating black of night, that there is not a spider near your face or, at the very least, in your bed? Option 1 — slapping around with your hands in the dark — is a less-than-optimal method of insect monitoring, and Option 2 — waking up your wife, turning on every light, getting the blowtorch down and tearing the room apart in a murderous frenzy — is usually not a good choice. So you're basically forced to lie there, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling, convincing yourself that the better option is that your brain invents spiders while you sleep.

This works, sometimes. It actually worked for a couple hours, I guess, because by the time I woke up from THE SECOND DREAM in which something was crawling on my neck I was well into my REM cycle and a dream involving Anne Hathaway, which I was NOT HAPPY TO BE ROUSED FROM, SPIDER. Again, eyes wide open, frenzied cranial inspection, nothing; again, lying awake for 45 minutes.

Of course by this point a good night's sleep is out of the question; by this point you have become a mutant, a bat, attuned at superhuman levels to every molecular-level blip of motion on your body, to every everything you're feeling, to every tiny itch, to every brush of the sheets, things that happen to you a million times during the day, unnoticed, but things that in the black of night make it seem like you're basically sleeping in a mound of fire ants. It is not a restful space. At one point the air conditioner turned on and my first instinct was to beat it to smithereens with a baseball bat. 

And yet somehow sleep found me again, because when I woke up the third time, instantly, thwapping at my neck as though driven by instinct, my hand found something small and solid and smeared it. 

And then a lot of things happened at once: First, I mentally cried, "VICTORY!," and then I mentally whimpered "EW EW GET IT OFF GET IT OFF" and a lot of the dramatic hand-shaking you would engage in if you just touched something gooey that you were not expecting to be gooey, followed by "HOW LONG HAS THAT DEMON BEEN CRAWLING ON ME" and finally "NOW YOU WORK 24 HOURS A DAY, BUG COMPANY." 

Jeff Vrabel would like to confirm that this column is 100 percent true, even the clown part. He can be reached, unless you are a clown, at and followed at