Rescuing Worms: Hero vs. Villain

Does anyone else feel the need to rescue worms in peril whilst outside?  Or is that just me?

Ever since I was very small I have had this habit of rescuing worms when they get stuck in dangerous situations.  I think it stems from my grandma (an avid gardener and one of my biggest inspirations) telling me that “worms are your friends” and you should look after them in your garden.

I’ll be walking to work and I’ll pass a grassy spot, and I’ll find myself scanning the area for distressed worms and sometimes snails in need of rescue.  I’ll pick them up, touching them as little as possible, as I read somewhere that us touching them burns their skin, and carefully place them on the nearest bit of grass.  Sometimes when I spot a worm that I didn’t get to in time, I find myself cursing for not getting there soon enough and telling it to rest in peace.  I’ll also loiter for a few seconds just to give it a chance to wriggle – you never know it might be too weak to move and miss its chance of rescue.  I draw the line at prodding every worm corpse I see in case it’s alive.  That would be creepy.

When it rains I usually leave the house a few minutes early so I can make time for the multiple rescues I’ll have to perform and still get to work on time.  I just worry about those worms that I can’t save during the rest of the day and on weekends…

I’ve always suspected that others may not understand and that people might think me odd, so I’ve largely, until now, kept this dark secret to myself.  However, I confided in a good friend the other day and he found it hilarious.  I asked him what was so funny, as saving worm lives was very important to me.  He said that he had visions of an underground worm society building cathedrals and worshipping me as a Deity, like in Futurama when Bender is floating through space and a civilisation grows on his back, or in the Simpsons when Lisa accidentally grows a civilisation as part of her science project.  We’d had a little bit to drink before this conversation began I should add!

He said that worms regularly line the edges of the grass on my walking route, throwing themselves into the pavement in order to see whether they were worthy of being saved.  Those that I rescue, go on to do great things.  He mused that by rescuing them I was creating a vicious cycle of demand for rescues, and that there would always be more worms to save.

He also said that if someone did a scientific study in the area between my home and work, sparrow populations would be dwindling and increasingly underweight.  In their society I am a cruel being that arbitrarily removes the food supply between the hours of 8:30 and 9:00.  He concluded that it’s a matter of perspective whether I’m a hero or a villain.  I told him to shut up and go home.

I’ll leave you to make up your own minds…