Saw my first in-the-flesh black widow spider today. That was interesting; not just for recognizing the hourglass I’d seen in so many bug identification books, but for a look at the eggcase. Instead of the silky ball I’m used to seeing in other spiders, it’s all spiky. Like a tiny version of one of those nubbly squeak toys for a hyper puppy.
But most importantly, it is outside, in a location no one is likely to put their hands, and somewhere easy to see. (Especially after we put up some red sticky-tape, “Black widow, do not disturb.”) So I plan to leave it alone. It’s a spider. It’s outside eating bugs. So long as it does its thing out there, I’m cool.
For me, a black widow spider outside falls into the category of acceptable hazards. It’s there. It could be dangerous. But likely not. I’m a bit more afraid of the local traffic, honest. Tourist season is a go, and I’ll spare you the details of how many near-misses I’ve had in the past few days.
In any setting, characters are going to have their own set of acceptable hazards, that might look quite crazy to readers on the outside or even people from a different area in the same world.
For example, Stargate. Based on show canon, SG-1 regularly goes through to a completely alien planet on about a monthly basis. Different ecosystems, different diseases, different cultures – that’s a whole host of hazards that should make most sane people want to curl up under the blankets and not come out for a year. The fact that Senator Kinsey wants it shut down isn’t nearly as surprising as the fact that Hammond and others successfully argue to keep it open. Especially after incidents with epidemic diseases and a black hole. Yeep.
For another example, Saiyuki. The Sanzo-ikkou hit every town knowing they’re likely to run into youkai assassins, dangerous humans, idiots of both species, and the odd mad scientist experiment. But they keep going… admittedly, in part because they’re just that cranky with the universe. 😉
Anyone else have favorite Acceptable Hazards in fandoms, or things they’d like to see as Acceptable Hazards in stories?