YOU never know how you're gonna go until thrust to glory. And so it was the other morning at work making small talk.
Topics had included the Socceroos, the power of female shop assistants, Taylor Swift - important stuff.
Without warning a female workmate had approached in need of help. With what, who knew? I thought she was ordering coffee so I responded eagerly.
Turned out she was suffering severe arachnophobia. A spider had appeared on her car dashboard driving into work causing what experts often refer to as 'a major conniption'. She'd had to relocate to the passenger seat and navigate gingerly with one hand the 10-kilometre run into town. She now required closure in the car park and the gig fell to me.
That was OK because I'd dealt with mice the cat dragged in. Removed stick insects off curtains. Even shushed cockatoos off the passion fruit vine. Danger was my middle name. Hopefully this spider wasn't too big.
In a short while it was splattered all over the Herald car park in scenes reminiscent of Rodney King, and/or the shower scene from Psycho.
And I was hailed a minor hero, confirmed when my workmate tagged me on Facebook and at least five people commented. She said at the time that I could get a column out of that, and indeed, here it is - a study on small talk, medium courage and big phobias.
As mentioned earlier, we'd been at work making rubbish small talk, as you do.
And if ever there was an example of rubbish, I mean heroics, it was the Socceroos. Not that they'd won the Asian Cup at that stage. But we armchair critics were never in doubt when they lost to Korea in qualifying - they were poo. And when they beat Korea in the final, they were great.
The power of female shop assistants was something we were much more certain of.
The young single male in the conversation had suggested sagely that all female shop assistants have to do is say "that looks hot" and Kaching! The middle-age married man had nodded in agreement, harkening back to a recent splurge triggered by just such a remark. Female shop assistants were aware of their power, that's why they said "that looks hot" so often.
A lot of people say Taylor Swift's hot, but that morning we were debating if her disqualification from the Triple J Hottest 100 was not. We batted reasons round. The most plausible being that she was an artist that people had heard of and therefore totally ineligible for Triple J. Taylor no doubt was able to shake it off.
It was at that moment in the deep small talk conversation that the spider-crazed work colleague barged in.
She was obviously "het" up. Symptoms included a deranged look in the eye, sweaty, twitching - possibly on crack.
Turns out she needed me to deliver a crack. To the spider.
She was armed with a big can of fly spray. I had the Friday edition, rolled up. Yet another reason why print pips digital. You can't smash a spider with your iPad. Well, you can, but it gets expensive.
Walking down the stairwell to the car park I attempted to empathise by talking spider experiences. I told her about a time on a motorbike riding out of Sydney.
A big, hairy, agitated spider had appeared from under the speedo like a raging bull.
It had quickly summed up how to get off the speedo and into my helmet - by running up my arms, which were connected to the bike. I'd raised one arm, so it went for the other. It's hard to ride a bike in Sydney traffic like that. So I'd had to pull over and make like the invisible fire.
Not that my workmate was listening.
The door swung open to the car park and the tactical response group deployed - target was go, go, go.
I opened the door of the car like a bomb disposal expert and without further ado there was old mate. A reasonably large and feisty spider with a bad case of "attitude".
And what insect wouldn't have attitude given the banshee scream that went off behind me.
My workmate's howl confirmed beyond doubt she had issues with spiders.
Then it was the spider which had issues - with fly spray - as my workmate unleashed a withering burst.
Spidey went to ground and my workmate fell back to the quivering position, leaving me to go in for the final coup-de-whack.
As with any time one takes an insect's life there was a moment of Buddhist regret and considerations of reincarnation and karma. But that was only me. My workmate demanded proof of death and, if needs be, application of more force and chemicals.
A quick inquest revealed the spider had met its maker with extreme prejudice due to the weight of current affairs applied to its person, repeatedly.
Meanwhile, the Herald entertainment reporter caught all the action from the first floor window on her iPhone. She confirmed it had been entertaining.
The only pity was she hadn't video-ed. It would surely have been a finalist in Australia's funniest.
After a cuddle we returned to the office where I was hailed a hero by a small but perceptive section of the staff before resuming small talk with my mate.
Make no mistake, it had been emotional.