Armed and Repulsed


Pete Nowicki rain
Photo credit: Pete Nowcki via Unsplash



Total read time: 3.5 minutes

If one more person tells me, “I’m glad for the rain! We really need the moisture,” I’m going to stick my umbrella up their nod politely and move along.

This rain. It’s relentless. Our rainfall to date is 21% higher than a typical May. We can’t get a break these last few weeks.

Ohhh, you go on. But think of how lovely the flowers will be this summer! you say. Someone, please take my umbrella from me before I act in a way I will regret.

The weeds in my yard are growing faster than the grass, but together they are overwhelming my ability to keep them trimmed.

The floors in my home are speckled with tiny chunks of mud and cut grass carried in on my dogs’ paws. Again, impossible to keep up with.

These are the days during which I should be coasting around town on my bike, wearing shorts and a tank top and inhaling the first warm breaths of late spring.

Instead, I’m wearing sweats and sipping tea, and watching the weeds wrestle the grass to see who can outgrow the other faster in the yard.


But if those were the only reasons the rain has got me down, I’d manage just fine. I’d whine a lot, but I’d be okay. The real reason the soggy weather makes me want to chew my own hair is the invasion of worms.

The <expletive><expletive><expletive><sorry, Mom> worms.

I <expletive> HATE those loathsome, mucous-y, wriggling, dead flesh-colored little devils that litter the sidewalks and streets during and after the heavy rains.

Those writhing, grotesque rascals that bear down on my driveway menacingly.

Those squishy, gooey, bantam scamps that taunt me to step on them and torment me even when they are flat and dead, daring me to vomit at the sight of their squashed hideousness.

“Fear” is the wrong word to describe my reaction to them. “Repulsion” is probably more accurate, though my ferocious involuntary reaction matches that with which I would avoid something I fear profoundly, say, a venomous snake or the notion of a Trump presidency.

fear : phobia :: revulsion : __________

The word that belongs in that empty space? That’s the word to describe my relationship with worms. (I haven’t been able to come up with it yet, so if you know it, please leave it in the comments below. Perhaps naming my affliction will be my first step in recovering from it.)

Illogical, yes, Controllable, no.

I walk with such care to avoid them, gasping and leaping on my toes, praying that in sparing one I do not land on another.

Naturally, dog walks in the ‘hood during these soggy spells are simply insufferable. (Sure, I could take Dash and Moxie to open space and let them run, but recall my issue with the mud in the house.)

When we walk together with the dogs, I implore my husband to step around them, but he is flat-out unsympathetic to this battle in which I have been embroiled for a lifetime.

My earliest memories of my worm aversion are of fishing with my father, who I always insisted load the worm on the hook for me. No way in hell was I going to make intentional contact with something so slimy and despicable much less impale it and subject my fingers to its worm juices.

Sundays mornings after a night of heavy rain, I’d hopscotch my way from the family Buick across a mile-wide parking lot to the sanctuary of the church, panicking and praying that every worm would remain intact with my passing.

And there was the time my brother returned from the field behind our house flaunting an absolutely TITANIC earthworm. He chased me across the yard, his arm behind his head like a pitcher in the ready position, threatening to cast his prize into my hair.


Photo credit:


He gave up in what I foolishly thought was a change of heart, but that night I realized his malicious intent had not waned; he had only changed his M.O. The odious demon (referring to the worm, not my brother) was waiting on my pillow when I turned down my bedspread. I have no memory of what happened immediately after that discovery. I’m pretty sure I blacked out.

But all that was when I was a silly kid. (Most people think) I’m a grown-up now. Let’s process this rationally, like adults.

What’s the worse that can happen if I unknowingly sploosh a worm?

I’ll tell you what. Its GUTS will BLAST out of its flaccid body and adhere themselves in the treads of my shoe where I will carry the tormented remains into my home and possibly even inadvertently TOUCH them with my BARE SKIN at some point.

And then what?

What do you mean, And then what? Isn’t that enough? That the liquid meat of a worm would make contact with my skin without my realizing it? That the abhorrent worm germs would stick to me and I might rub my eyes or pick up a piece of food and introduce the filth into my BODY?

When is enough ENOUGH?

Ohh, you say. But worms are great for the soil! you say. Think how beautiful the flowers will be this summer, you say...

Someone, please hand me back that umbrella.

Featured image photo credit:


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Renee says:

    It’s called the “yuck factor”.


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