Sunday, 13 February 2005

The Worms Are Turning

I took out a sack of potatoes the other night to make some dinner. I'm not a great cook, but there's nothing I can't do with a potato. Some people think it's hilarious that the Irish eat a lot of potatoes. I've never really understood that. Chinese people eat a lot of rice don't they? I bet Wong Fu doesn't have to put up with a constant ribbing. "Oh you Chinese people, total rice munchers".

*Pause while considering the hilarity of Irish Tuber Chompers. Twinge in side possible indication of laughing pain, but on further consideration it is identified as wind*

Actually that pause has reminded me of something. At a music lesson in primary school we were forced to sing a terrible tune, which I believe was made famous by Makem and Clancy. (In later years by coincidence I ended up sharing a flat with Clancy's daughter, but I didn't really feel I could take revenge on her. Sins of the father and all that.)

This dreadful ditty was called 'A Place In The Choir' and the chorus went like this:
All god's creatures got a place in the choir
Some sing low and some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
Some just clap their hands or paws or anything they've got now.

Except I didn't hear 'paws', I heard 'pause'.

My mind has never so much thought outside the box as outside the box and away off in a parallel universe. It wasn't good enough for me to hear 'pause' and smugly think everyone else was wrong. Oh no. It had to be implemented.

And so when it came to the chorus all the children in my row would clap, stop singing (pause!!) and stare goggle-eyed into space before rushing in again on the last phrase.

I don't know if Makem and Clancy ate a lot of potatoes, but they were very fond of Aran jumpers. Always in a woolly geansai those boys. I mean it's cold in Ireland, but not all the time. And it's hot in pubs.

Anyway, I was taking some spuds out of the bag when the lettering on the outside started to move. I thought maybe I had had one too many gins, so I looked again. It was nasty. GREEN MAGGOTS. Or more precisely white maggots which had created such a slobber that the dye had come off the bag and turned them into luminous monsters.

I gingerly tore the bag open, and sure enough the bottom two-thirds was a pulpy slimy writhing mess. Yum! I thought, this is the Irish people's favourite way to eat potatoes. No I'm kidding. Really. I mean maybe in a famine situation or something, but not nowadays. I mean we have cappucinos and shit like that now. I threw the spudworms away.

But I want to know where maggots come from. I mean, if you put a bag of potatoes in a cupboard and they're fine, and then you come back a day later and they're full of maggots, how did they get there? And why are wriggling maggots on your spuds bad, but it's ok to eat termites and caterpillars? And how do these differ from the kind of worms where the doctor says "You have worms. Worms are bad." (Not that this has ever happened to me. I saw it on tv once).

Worms: A Mystery Available In Many Parts.