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Playing God

date: Tue 13 Apr 23:44:16 CEST 2023

Probably Futile Attempts to Save Earthworms

I understand how ecosystems work, that there’s a cycle of life that leads to an equalibrium in predator and prey populations given the resources available. I get that.

And yet I can’t help but upset that equalibrium by stealing would-be food from the crow or raven or other such predator of the worm-like creature by rescuing these slow moving, otherwise helpless earthworms, bannana slugs, etc., whenever it rains.

The How

I find a stick and as gently as I can pick them up and move them into shaded soft soil away from the paths where feet might pancake them or the sun might dry them out or birds might get at them. I repeate this process for every earthworm or slug that I see along my path.

The Why

The thing is, it began as a fun, nice thing to do, but it is triggering my OCD a bit such that I feel compelled to stop and save every earthworm I can.

Ah… Hero complex much?


I’ve no idea what befalls them after they are rescued from the pavement. It’s often very late at night (I usually find myself rescuing these worms during the last bathroom break I take my dogs out for before bed which is around 10PM most evenings and by then it’s usually very dark).

I don’t know if they just turn around from the dirt I placed them in to follow some artificial light they think is the sun and try to cross the chasm of the concrete walkway only to get stepped on, or run over by bicycle tires in the morning, or eaten by birds or other such animals, or if the various armies of ants or arachnids get to them; but rescue them I must.

It just feels good to do it and yet I ask myself: “Who am I to play God?”

Which is a very pretentious thing to even equate but you get the point right? Right?

Natural Selection

Perhaps this one act forever changes the species for the worse as worms with mutations that would make them marginally better at not dying are not being rewarded with being able to propogate their genetic code to the next generation but the ones that I rescue are. There’s no real easy way to know what population the ones I resuce fall into: the marginally better ones, the ones that would be selected by natural selection or the not so lucky ones, nevertheless, I am throwing a wrench in the whole thing.

But Why?

Earthworms play a crucial role in the health of the soil. Bannana slugs are pests to crops. Maybe it’s my own megalomania I just find myself compelled to help these helpless critters but am unsure of what it means.


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