Sometimes you just know a good worm, the way you know about a good melon. I went digging for nightcrawlers today for my talk at the Ferndale Garden Club, and the first shovelful of dirt turned up a supersized nightcrawler—fat and long and surprisingly strong. (I’ll post a picture tomorrow) It whipped away from me and clung tenaciously to its clump of dirt, but I managed to get ahold of it and drop it into a Rubbermaid container with holes punched in the lid.
At lunch before the garden club talk, I said to Scott, “I got a really fine nightcrawler today. I’d like to keep this one. They don’t do well in captivity, but what if I sunk a big bin in the ground and dropped all the good worms I found in it? I just hate to lose a worm like this.”
Scott humored me, but I’m sure he was thinking, “One worm’s as good as another, and do we have to talk about this at lunch?”
Then we got to City Hall, where the garden club was meeting, and I pulled the worm out to check on it. “Wow,” Scott said. “That is a good worm.” There was just something about it. It was robust, almost muscular. You could see every anatomical feature perfectly. (Yes, worms do have anatomical features. I’m sure we’ll get into them at length over the coming weeks and months.)
The nightcrawler performed admirably for the ladies at the garden club, stretching out luxuriously on my palm to nearly three times its length, and even rubbing its setae (tiny nubby bristles on its underside) against my hand. Pretty soon everybody wanted the worm in their hand so they could feel the setae. One after another, these grey-haired women came up to me and said, “Now that’s a good worm.”
See? Sometimes you just know. I can’t explain it better than that.