Yesterday morning while out for my run, I was fortunate enough to witness a bit of Spring nature that has stuck with me. It was raining lightly, and fairly mild, ideal conditions for earthworms to make an appearance. Sure enough there were hundreds of them on the concrete path in the park. They would slither from the earth onto the sidewalk where they would wallow in puddles then return to the soil and do the whole thing all over again. No doubt some sort of spa treatment: mud, water, mud, water.
It was fascinating to watch this, right up to the point when the birds arrived. Three or four pigeons swooped down and started poking the worms with their beaks. That’s when things really got strange. As the birds pecked, many of the worms shouted “You’re too late” and “Beat it late birds, leave us alone”. One worm brazenly, if slowly, made his way over to the birds, he was clearly wearing the worm version of a business suit, and where his belt should have been, was a small but very elegant, wristwatch – worms lacking wrists and all. Arching his back to show the birds the watch face with the correct time, the worm pointed out that it was almost 7:00 AM and sent the birds on their way. Like magic, they dejectedly took off, but not without promising, or threatening to return at an earlier time tomorrow.
The suited worm, evidently a lawyer, noticed my interest. He pointed out to me that while the law is clear on the fact that the early bird gets the worm, according to paragraph 17, section 4.54, subsection 82, “early” is defined as “prior to 6:45 AM local time. These birds were in violation of one of the laws of nature – they were late, ergo not entitled to any worms.
I’ve known many lawyers who were referred to as worms, but this was the first time I had ever encountered an actual worm lawyer. He explained to me that, not surprisingly, most worm lawyers spend the majority of their time trying to get their worm clients … off the hook.
Having my attention he took advantage and went on, telling me it’s not just birds that irk worms. People can annoy these guys as well. “You seem to find us repugnant, yet you have no problem eating fish”, he said. “Just what do you think fish eat? If we apply the old you-are-what-you-eat adage, then I hope you enjoy munching on your next order of ‘worms and chips’!”
As for biting into an apple and being shocked to find half a worm; well that’s just a scream isn’t it? Hilarious. Really funny old joke.
With this he said he had to leave to get ready to go to court and defend one of his worm clients on yet another charge of desecrating a dead body. “They just don’t understand worms” he muttered while shaking what I assume was his head!
I am a big fan of PBS and all those great Nature programs, but this is one aspect of earthworms that I have never seen anywhere before.