Well, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, but as I don’t do a lot of drinking these days, I’m not really feeling it this year. I also find it pretty offensive. Sure, people are celebrating Irish heritage, but they’re doing so pretty much only through binge drinking. It’s like if there was a holiday where people celebrated French history by refusing to bathe.
So, instead, I found out that it’s also Submarine Day. It’s a holiday that celebrates submarines. “But wait,” (you ask, astute and precise reader that you are) “do you mean submarines, the ships (which are technically called ‘boats’)? Or do you mean submarines, the sandwiches?” Great question, with a great answer: IT’S BOTH!
Now we’ll take a lateral move here and progress from the general category of large, roughly-cylindrical things which go underneath or inside of other things, and discuss something similar. As this is a more-or-less PG-13 website, I am of course talking about LEGENDARY GIANT WORMS.
Pride of place obviously goes to Shai-Hulud, the great sandworm of Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune series. May His passage cleanse the world. Dune is one of my favourite books for its fascinating blend of science, mysticism, and politics. The sandworm of Arrakis (to whom I once composed an ode in Latin – it was for a class, I’m not completely insane) is about two kilometers long, living in the desert and immediately attacking anything that produces rhythmic vibration. If you walk without rhythm, then you won’t attract the worm. Now you know where that line came from in Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice.”
Of course, we have to mention the beasts from the movie Tremors. Despite popular parlance, the worms from Tremors are in fact called Graboids, not Tremors. At only 30 feet in length, these are a letdown compared to Shai-Hulud. You’d need to lay 109 of them end-to-end to match the great Maker’s length. That said, I do love the Tremors movies. One thing I really like is the character of Burt Gummer, who has been played by actor Michael Gross in no fewer than four movies and a TV show. Long after everybody else moved onto other things, this one guy continues to perfect his legacy as Graboid-hunter numero uno.
Smaller still, but more badass because people really believe it exists, is the Olgoi-Khorkoi, the “large intestine worm” or, as it’s known in English, the Mongolian Death-Worm. It’s thought to be 2-5 feet long with a pudgy red body, subsisting in the Gobi desert. It can kill at range with a lethal electrical shock and spits a venom that can corrode metal. Its body is so toxic that to merely touch it means instant death. It’s largely treated as a cryptid, but real-ass Mongolian herders claim to have seen it and fully believe it’s real, and as they spend a hell of a lot more time in the Gobi desert than I do, I’m frankly inclined to believe them, if only to be on the safe side should I ever visit.
Blech. It’s like a wiener with a butt.
Last but not least, an animal whose existence is totally affirmed, perhaps even moreso than is really comfortable, I present the largest true worm on Earth, the African Giant Earthworm. It’s gross.
Now try to forget you saw this and have a safe / fun / worm-free night out tonight.
Until next time!