How Not to Be an Earthworm

[This whole chapter has the faintly phosphorescent humor of decay about it. It is as outmoded as a treatise on how to treat javelin-wounds, now that we know even earthworms are not inviolate.]

Streamlined to ultimate for functional performance the earthworm blindly eats his way, riddling and honeycombing the ground to a depth of ten feet or more as he swallows.

                  — Anatomy Underfoot, J.-J. CONDE

Other wars have made men live like rats, or wolves, or lice, but until this one, except perhaps for the rehearsal in Spain, we have never lived like earthworms.

Now we bend our minds, with the surprised intensity of any nonplused [In the face of continued disapproval I think this should have two esses, just as I think the word busses is proper in the plural for both a vehicle and a kiss. Buses, indeed! I am not nonplused.] creatures, to existing as gracefully as possible without many of the things we have always accepted as our due: light, free air, fresh foods, prepared according to our tastes. It can be done, of course, since we are humans as well as rats, wolves, lice and earthworms.

You may have heard of one woman in England who withdrew to her tidy little bomb-shelter in the garden when the first siren sounded, and emerged, rather dreamily, some two weeks later. She'd been quite comfy, she told her worried neighbors, but she did hope the blinkin' raids would not always last quite so long.

      — M.F.K. Fisher, from How to Cook a Wolf, 1942.