Here I am, master of my destiny, compact, athletic, taking in nourishing meals at one end and disposing of the residue in a fashion both orderly and useful at the other. Only those who have experienced it can appreciate the pleasure of sensing food slithering around one’s entire being, on the outside a well as the inside. Could any existence be more perfect?
There is this minor inconvenience that I am blind, deaf and dumb. I do, though, have a sense of taste, and who needs to see, hear or speak when he has only to open his mouth for it to be filled, instantly and miraculously, with a good helping of very acceptable earth? What, moreover, could any sensible worm wish to see, hear or talk about in this dark paradise, which by the application of the strictest logic can be deduced only to have been created by a loving God – a sort of super-worm – quite specifically for the benefit of the chosen?
You may well wonder ‘what is the point of it all?’, and I would initially reply: ‘Does there need to be a point?
Is it not sufficient to accept that C’est comme ça, as my French cousins might in different circumstances have expressed themselves, that the only point which matters is the rounded extremity of my fore-lip preceding my mouth in the performance of its ceaseless task on my behalf?
If, however, you were to press me, I would add that contemplation by life-forms of this and that is widely accepted as the acme of what can be managed, and I do have a brain you know. My life style is, I would suggest, designed to free my brain to spend the whole of its time – night and day being artificial subdivisions of eternity of value only to less fortunate creatures – in uninterrupted contemplation; a contemplation more profound because of its continuity than that of any Buddha beneath any banyan tree.
Note, though, I said only that I am free to operate in this mode. I should add that if and when I so desire I do have other options; options, indeed, not without their agreeable aspects.
You will have noticed that I wear no clothes. Not to put too fine a gloss on it, I am naked. I admit it; indeed I fear I enjoy it, and not only for the convenience.
There are, let me remind you, other earthworms around, and occasionally I encounter one or more of them. I have found it pleasant to meet up with others of one’s kind in a state of nature.
Before, however, you leap to any disapprobatious ethical conclusions, let me tell you that we meet without embarrassment for one simple reason, a simple provision which is probably de rigeur if any paradise is to be permanently preserved as such. This provision is that all earthworms are both ladies and gentlemen at the same time. There is no sexual dimorphism for us, no pursuit of one by the other, no accusations of chauvinism, no invidious division of labour, no arguments about – well, I leave it to the dimorphous to precise these for themselves.
Anyhow, we meet in this state of nature and we get on with the job of being ladies and gentlemen at the same time. Clearly, here too there are advantages – double everything, if you get my drift. For reasons of modesty I do not propose to go into the details; they are too agreeable to be enlarged upon, and perhaps also an acquired taste.
What, you might think, about the children? Will not the pleasure of such encounters inevitably need to be requited by the pain, or at least the duty, of coping with the children? Two lots of children? What price the life of contemplation now?
We have, however, a solution, which is another of the provisions of this paradise. We simply dump the children. This we can do without the slightest qualm of conscience, since they can manage perfectly without us, and we know full well that when they grow up – if they grow up – there is this life of bliss which awaits them. Through pleasure we have created pleasure.
You will be thinking all this is too good to be true, and you may also be thinking of the gardener with his spade. Well, that is a matter for thought. My zoology book, admittedly an oldish one, says that if you cut an earthworm in two it regenerates itself into two earthworms. Personally I would not like to try the experiment. My insides seem somewhat too complex for this regeneration business; also the whole process sounds painful.
So. There are gardeners, and I admit there are blackbirds too, moreover I have heard tell of the preferred menu of badgers. My own view is that one deals with such uncouth intrusions into paradise in an ad-hoc fashion depending on circumstances. I wonder if there is much to be gained by harping on about these incidents when they are apt to be of brief duration, occupying a mere fraction of one’s life span. Moderation, you see, is the key.
In sum, I recommend our lifestyle from the bottom of my heart, or hearts I should say, since as befit a dweller in paradise I have several of what might pass for these organs. It is because my hearts are all in their right places that I can make my recommendation with pleasure. We being so much more numerous than the so-called higher life forms, and statistics being statistics, there is a sporting chance that next time round anyone now allocated to these higher forms could end up as one of our company.
In this best of all possible worlds, therefore, I now leave you, keeping my cuticular spines fondly crossed in the hope that these same happy eventualities may befall each and every one of my readers. Especially now they can feel fully informed of what awaits them.