When I was younger I had such a repulsion to worms that it was almost debilitating. I would gag after a rainfall because it "smelled like worms outside." I took a failing grade in 9th grade biology because I could not, WOULD not, dissect an earthworm. In fact, I could not even be in the lab that day when my classmates did the assignment.
Once when I was walking in flip flops, I flipped a worm into the back of my shoe, unbeknownst to me. When I investigated what felt wet and slimy on my heel I screamed so loudly that passers by thought I was an escapee from a mental ward.
Over the past few years I have been trying to get over my phobia because I think the earth worm is here to stay. Plus, I don't want Adam and Ellie to adopt this irrational fear. Although, I don't think that will happen with Ellie. When she was 16 months old she ate half of a worm.
As I write this, Adam and Ellie are outside playing in the overly saturated back yard and patio area. They are playing after having attended a funeral for a loved one. I will explain.
After I picked the kids up from school, they begged to play outside. It had finally stopped raining after 3 straight days, the temperature was nice (78 degrees), and all I had to do was cook dinner and spend quality time on my Blackberry, so I thought “what the hell, no harm in it, let ‘em play outside.”
As I was preparing my pork roast with homemade onion jam, sauteed spinach and garlicky pan-roasted brussel sprouts, I happily observed the kids playing really nicely together. They were getting along so beautifully and I could tell that they were working very hard on a project. I was loving every minute of it from the inner sanctum of the kitchen. Life was good.
At one point Ellie came in to the house to use the bathroom, and I asked her what she and Adam were working so hard on? “A castle” she said. Intrigued, I followed her back out of the house.
Adam and Ellie had taken all the beach toys (buckets, shovels, horseshoes) and they had created quite a Kingdom for what, I was not quite sure.
And then I saw the Royal Subject, the fucking Mack Daddy of all worms. I swear it was part snake/part worm/part dingo-coyote. Adam and Ellie were building a huge castle for this worm and I was numb. Ellie was handling this reptile with such ease and grace and I was trying my hardest not to vomit. She placed it down very closely to the “Moat” of horse shoes and I warned her that if she put the snake/worm/dingo-coyote too close to the edge of the plastic toys while placing one down, it would cut their pet. She assured me that she and Adam were being very careful.
When I asked Adam what it's name was Adam answered "Butt." I then asked Ellie if she had agreed to that name, and she said "NO." Who could really blame her? So I said "ok, Ellie, what would you like to name it?" And she said "Farts."
When I mustered up the courage to look at ButtFarts, I discovered something a bit disturbing. Sure as shit, a large chunk of ButtFarts was missing from it's head (or tail). I don't know if earthworms have a head or a tail... Remember that I told you I refused to dissect one in 9th grade.
Anyway, Adam and Ellie discovered the large piece of ButtFarts next to him too. Ellie pointed and shouted with giggly glee "he pooped!" While heading back into the house I gently reminded them to take care of their pet.
I went inside, poured myself a glass of wine and started to count to 0 backwards form 20. I got to 11 before Adam came in and said “ButtFarts is dead.” “Yup, seems about right,” I replied to him. And told him to tell Ellie that we would have a funeral.
I went outside armed with an ice cream scooper to dig a grave. The kids gathered all of ButtFarts together and we buried him in a nice little ceremony. I asked the mourners if there was anyone that would like to speak a few kinds words about the deceased. Ellie volunteered and said “I loved ButtFarts. He was my best friend.” Adam chimed in “He was the best pet ever, and I will miss him.” Adam wanted to bury ButtFarts with a horse shoe, but I was not digging any deeper, or wider so I vetoed that idea. I had nothing to say (I really was just officiating the ceremony), and we agreed that ButtFarts was in a better place now. Which was fucking ironic to me, because if only ButtFarts had stayed in the ground like he was supposed to, none of this would have ever happened.
Anyway, the pork roast is almost done and in 20 minutes we will sit down for dinner. It was a big day for us here….. and I am confident that I have learned two things.
1) My kids are way too young for a pet.
2) I have no doubt that my kids will be haunted by ButtFarts spirit for years to come.