23 April 2013
As darkness grew in the dreary rain, I sat under an eave with the worms. Their thin worm bodies slowly rolled and writhed across the soggy earth as they fled the deluge. Four or five of them groped along the concrete towards my feet.
I was one of them. I huddled under that eave, the rain falling near my feet, feeling weary and exasperated. My bones and joints ached; I had grown old and tired; life wasn’t going the way that I’d hoped, and it was all my fault. What was the whole point anyway? I hid under the eave to escape my own little deluge.
The lowest of the low, we consider these worms. Humanity at the top of the scale, worms very near the bottom. We snootily point out the worms’ lack of bone structures, no eyes, no brains worth mentioning. Not even proper gender. How much superior we are compared to these creatures!
These worms at my feet, fighting to survive a day’s rain, blindly trying to live through one more night. They can’t tell what’s two inches in front of them; they live completely unaware of the world beyond their little patch of ground. They can’t even comprehend the world beyond their own lives. And to top it all off, worms are just plain awful when you think about them; so digusting!
“Well I think you’re disgusting!” cried a little voice from below.
I turned my head away, then sighed. “Go away. I just wanted to be left alone. Why can’t anyone leave me alone for more than five minutes?”
“You started it, bub! You sit so high and mighty in your chair wallowing over your little problems while we earthworms are fighting for our very lives right in front of you! So I guess you’ll just have to put up with our awful and disgusting existence, won’t you?”
I rolled my eyes. I can’t seem to go anywhere without someone bothering me. Often this is a pleasant thing; it’s nice to see friends and family in unexpected places, even to meet new people. But there are times when I just want to be alone to think (or to mope), and it seems like someone, or some thing, has to come around and spoil it every time!
“So, old man, you think you’re so much better than me? Well, let me tell you something! We earthworms are much greater than humanity!”
I closed my eyes and shook my head. “Do tell. Do tell.”
“First of all, we outnumber you by far. 7 billion of you? How about 12 quadrillion of us! Your population is completely irrelevant compared to ours!
“Also, we don’t need all of the extra baggage that a human needs. We can think without an over-engineered brain, and we can breathe without separate lungs. We don’t need genders to reproduce, and we don’t need legs to move. We don’t even need skeletons, as our fluid-filled coelom chambers function as hydrostatic skeletons! We earthworms embody sheer perfection without all of the hideous protrusions that jut from your lumpy human torsos.”
“I’m not all that lumpy, really,” I grumbled.
“We earthworms don’t kill each other; we don’t lie; we don’t steal. Our society gets along just fine without rules and laws. We don’t need money because we don’t want anything that we can’t get from the ground. Our existence benefits the lands where we live because we constantly improve the soil. The only thing an earthworm cares about is eating, surviving, and reproducing ourselves so that our society can live on perpetually, as it always has.
“Look at your society. What is human civilization but a crippled, flailing thing, just managing to push itself off the ground before it crashes in a senseless heap? Human societies, from the greatest empire to the smallest tribe, spread through war and they rise upon the backs of others. You trash the places where you live, and then you trash yourselves. You set up laws that you end up breaking, morals that you ultimately betray, and responsibilities that you sooner or later avoid. Humans are intelligent enough to break just about anything, but not smart enough to repair the damage. You’re a cursed creature, while we worms always do what is right.”
Preaching from a worm! How easy for this bird-food to criticize humans for what we do when they’ve never done anything at all. “I don’t have to listen to this nonsense from an earthworm!”
I stood up and noticed that four or five other worms had joined me under my shelter, blindly flailing across the concrete. How many of them would survive the next twenty-four hours?
“Well, old man, you just go back to your dry and cozy hut while we stay out here and fight against the flood. I think we all know who is the greater being around here!”
I stepped out from the eave into the shock of cold rain, careful to avoid crushing any of the dozens of worms sliding across the dark, wet sidewalk, their little bodies reflecting the golden light from the windows. I decided to go inside and do the right thing.
 Boundless.com. “Hydrostatic Skeletons.” Hydrostatic Skeletons. Boundless Learning, Inc., Web. 22 Apr. 2013. https://www.boundless.com/biology/musculoskeletal-system/kinds-skeletal-system/hydrostatic-skeletons/.