I knew that I had become a Real Gardener when I held a worm without shrieking like a girl and flinging her into the bushes.
Worms don't have a lot of obvious clout, at least compared to lions, gorillas, mankind... so Mother Nature gave them one the best escape devices, ever. SQUIRMING. For those of you who have never picked up a worm, well, let me say that having as squishy little tube start writhing and twisting just feels so GROSS! I mean, those suckers are muscular, and for 52 years (not counting years 1 to 5) it evoked instant finger revulsion and shameful involuntary vocalizations.
(I'm sure that any fisherman reading this blog --perhaps unlikely, but you never know) is snorting into their bait box at this, but as I presume fishermen like to say, "bite me.")
So, okay, back to the Worm Breakthrough. It was a mercy mission. I was digging, and you gardeners all know what happens then -- you uncover a lot of halved worms, but sometimes there's a nice fat one that's still alive and is freaking out at being exposed. I used to scoop them over with the trowel and throw dirt on them, but one day I really wanted to move that gorgeous fattie into a worm deficient bed, and she kept flinging herself off the trowel. So I sucked it up and reached down and gently squeezed her between my fingers. She ERUPTED into a twisting frenzy and I shrieked like a girl and flung her into the bushes.
This waste of worm really offended my frugal gardener's sensibility, so when the next survivor appeared, I was ready. I picked it up, it squirmed, and I was ok. BREAKTHROUGH! I was so pleased with my new talent that I would call my husband (Mr. Squeamish) over to show off. HA! I can pick up worms!
Now that I can hold worms, I show off around clients whenever I can. I love it when they squeal and say "ooh, how can you do that!" and I think it makes me seem more professional to them, somehow.