Today I happened across some worms stranded on the blacktop after a storm and wondered why. Surely things haven’t gotten so bad in Worm-Ville that citizens are flinging themselves onto the street in protest. So I did what any socially responsible person would do, in addition to returning the worms to the grass. I looked up worm habits online.
It turns out there is a bit of a dispute. Not a rabid one. It seems worm experts are more laid back than, say, the folks who write letters to the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review. (More on that another day.) But still, there are some wild new thinkers among the group and what better place to learn their perspective than the internet, an impeccable source which contains only truth and goodwill.
For years scientists thought worms fled their waterlogged holes because they didn’t want to drown. But it turns out worms aren’t particularly bothered by water in their homes. Saves on washing the floor, for one thing.
So now there are other theories. Some scientists believe worms associate the vibrations caused by raindrops with the noise made by certain predators like moles.
This would imply worms are pessimists.
After all there is no particular reason to think every knock on the door is a worm-icidal maniac. But the other two theories are more upbeat. I like cheery people as a general rule so I was excited to learn worms may be optimistic and open-minded about the future.
One scientist posits that worms use rain as a way to travel longer distances than usual. He didn’t say how far and personally I think this matters. There is a difference between traveling to the next flower bed and traveling to Indonesia. But to be fair, I hadn’t considered the possibility worms wish to travel at all. If they do, where? And how does a worm hear about attractive worm destinations? Is there a worm tourist agency? Are the ads for foreign climes filled with puns? (“A temperate climate – Worm and sunny all year round.”)
Or maybe the average worm’s travel goals are more modest.
“Jerry,” booms the game show host, “Tell Mary what she has won!”
“A trip to gorgeous other side of Main Street where unexplored tunnels and delightful cavernous sewers await your pleasure. You and a guest will travel in style in the rainstorm of your choice, slithering speedily across downtown to the other side of the road with only minimal risk of being stomped on, run over, or dried out. Congratulations!”
The idea of mating in the middle of the street is even more optimistic. I am a contemporary romance writer and even my characters have never considered that as a realistic option. On the other hand, risking life and limb to find that perfect mate is standard fare, at least in romantic suspense. With all the danger, excitement, romance and travel to foreign climes, Worm Love could be the next big selling sub-genre of the world of romance novels.
Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.