Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Pee on the Worm

Wow. A blog chain, it's been ages since I've participated in one of these.

Let's see, Wendy summed up the first posts so beautifully:

"Razib Ahmed posted about life during the economic recession. Then it was Benjamin Solah with the view that nationalism is racism. Then Fresh Hell chimed in from Virginia with a post about racial relations."

And of course, Wendy wrote about covert racism and things people say, little adages, that are spoken in casual conversation. So I'm going to take that idea and run with it. (I sure don't envy Kat Frass who comes after me.)

I love learning proverbs, old sayings and superstitions especially here in Japan where the culture is so different from my own. I've just got to share my favorite one so far.

I was with my in-laws walking through some hills when we came across a worm crossing the path. My mother-in-law takes great pride in teaching me all the things I do not know or understand. She stopped me with a hand across my chest and says:

"Don't pee on it."

Really, how to respond to a comment like that? She then went on to tell me that back in the day little boys would pee on worms and then suddenly their 'members' would swell up and start to painfully itch. I told her first, I'm a girl, and second, I normally didn't relieve myself on animals, big or small. I don't think she was convinced.

That bugged (sweet, sweet pun) me for years. What was the reasoning behind such a superstitian? I was bothered that is until one day I saw a show on TV actually proving that one type of worm shoots out a kind of poison which travels up the urine stream and well, causing swelling and pain.

It's in Japanese (sorry) but here's the explanation. And here's a bunch of people (men) who evidently had this experience. One guy even peed on a frog and had the same thing happen.


"Dude, cut it out."



No moral really. I don't think anyone actually pees on worms. Just, you know, I hate it when my mother-in-law is right.

Here's a list of the entire chain. Kat Frass is up next.


Razib Ahmed

Benjamin Solah

FreshHell

WendyNYC

madderblue

Kat Frass

the Cliterature blog

truelyana

26 comments:

Girl Japan said...

hahah Terrie.. this is SO funny. I would have been thinking "did I understand her correctly"? Oh my goodness.. I would have never known.. but really who goes around peeing on animals...

Kappa no He said...

Just that she assumed it was something I normally did. And if I did, would I do it in front of my family? In-laws? Really.

Razib Ahmed said...

It was really a funny story. I wonder if you ever thought of writing a short story on it. Mother-in-laws? They are same every where.

Hilary said...

Geesh.. when I walk with Frank and we come upon a worm, he rescues it. He picks it up and puts it somewhere safe. He even got me doing that.. though I shudder through the experience. But never, NEVER has he given me such fine advice such as "Don't pee on it." Some worm-lover HE is!

Tigermama said...

LOL! You know, it would have been REALLY funny if you had stopped and peed on the worm pretending that you thought she told you to pee on it. At least I think it would have been funny.

WendyCinNYC said...

LOL! I love the twist the blog chain has taken. Peeing on worms. Yeah, I agree, have fun with that one, Kat.

Kat Frass said...

Hmmmm... Don't PEE on a worm??? THAT is the topic you throw over to me??? LOL

I loved this post. I laughed out loud when I read it. I think it is wonderful that you 1) got to laugh about it at the time and 2) learned (and shared) really cool info about the worm who shoots poison. I can't tell you how much safer I feel now that I know NEVER to pee on a worm....

Kappa no He said...

Razib, now that you mention it! One of the stories in my collection mentions this wise advice. This and many other mother-in-law axioms.

Hilary, I use a leaf for worm/slug/slow bug saving. I think we need to have a talk with Frank.

Oh, Tigermama, I love that thought! Then I could have told her about how my great grandma told me it was good luck to pee on a worm. Ha!

Wendy, I was planning on just mentioning politics so she would have something to work with. But then I figured Razib was kind enough to give us an 'out'...if you don't want them to relate they don't have too.

Kat, also, I forgot to mention! Never play in dirt and, um, touch yourself, because that worm poison can get transfered that way as well. Good luck, Kat! I'm on my way over now.

Kappa no He said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Melvin said...

No matter what you write about, it's always fascinating. Your story has urban myth written all over it. That said, what male among us is willing to take the risk? :)

Kappa no He said...

I don't know, Jim, when I was a kid all my friends-who-were-boys peed on just about anything-- walls, banks of white snow, a little sister if she wasn't moving fast enough. Maybe this is some kind of progaganda the worms are putting out.

Anonymous said...

"She then went on to tell me that back in the day little boys would pee on worms and then suddenly their 'members' would swell up and start to painfully itch."

One of the things I really enjoyed about Japan was the normalcy of bodily functions. Sometimes I was disturbed about the place or the time, but I liked it. Japan is the place of activated charcoal underware to reduce the stench of farts, although uni-sexual sentos are gone, but there's still that openness about the body.

Hope your writing thread goes well.
imomomo

FreshHell said...

It must be a boy thing. I would imagine it would be hard NOT to just whip it out and pee simply because you could. That worm, though, taught a few of them a lesson, didn't she? Good worm. Nice story!

Emily Veinglory said...

I would warn my dog about that but he is already sans the functional parts of the male anatomy ;)

Mary Witzl said...

It's like the kappa thing, isn't it? You can't jump in ponds or rivers or a kappa will swim up your bottom or (depending on the prefecture or area) into your navel and mess you up. Which may well have kept a few kids from drowning, but even more out of the water and up at nights.

My Japanese friends used to warn me away from caterpillars and I thought they were being silly. Then one day I discovered a whole tree full of caterpillars and I shook it -- and found out that some caterpillars have a really nasty stinging poison in them...

Matt D said...

I pretty much pee on everyone and everything I meet for the first time, so this is excellent advice. Who knew such a thing could be so dangerous?

Benjamin Solah said...

What a totally random thing to say! It's funny how those old sayings remain but people forget their meaning - or they become totally disconnected from that meaning.

Kappa no He said...

Imomo, yes and no. My mother-in-law going into great detail about her last bowel movement while I'm trying to enjoy a heaping bowl of curry always throws me off.

Thank you Fresh!

Matt, you know, Freud was really on to something.

Benjamin, I often get random things said to me. Last night a drunk asked me if I was from Finland. Finland? Why Finland?

Ana said...

That is pretty cute, and just goes to show that there is a variety of wise phrases used for everything. Wonderful huh. Great entry by the way.

Pat said...

Is there no end to the stuff I'll need to teach my baby grandsons? Sigh.

Frank Baron said...

I thought everybody knew about not peeing on worms. It's impolite. Every time I have, I've apologized and explained it was totally accidental. Which it was.

Worms are our friends. They nobly and selflessly sacrifice themselves so that we may catch fish. They are deserving of our respect.

Although...they DO sort of enjoy poop. Many worms live happily under the dung of cows. Can't count the number of times I've run out of bait and been saved because a cow pasture was nearby.

You always have such interesting topics Terrie. :)

Kappa no He said...

Ana, I love collecting old sayings.

Pat, I still wonder if this is not a worm indigenious only to Japan. Your grandson's might be safe!

Frank, aha! That's why she didn't tell me not to poop on the worm. She might be wiser than I give her credit for.

Jim Melvin said...

Frank, there's a difference between impolite and having poisons leap up your stream and infect you. :)

Men have to mark their territory, worms be damned. When I moved from a house surrounded by 20 acres of woods into a one-acre development with houses everywhere, it cramped my style.

(Sorry, I'm usually not this gross. I'm just getting into the spirit of things.)

Anonymous said...

Don't pee on the worm-
Got the winner-Steelers; hit the point spread on the nail head-4; missed total by only a couple. Wish I bet instead of only giving advice to friends who do. Springsteen was very good at half time. Watch the video.
Imomomo

laughingwolf said...

ok... funny thing is, i just posted about a south american fish that could follow your urine stream into your urethra... most unpleasant

Anonymous said...

Hi Kappa-san,
My husband just told me the same story! He said it happened to his dad, when his father was a child.(The things boys do!)So, I started searching this, and found your blog. I am still not convinced that it was an earthworm. Could it have been some other type of worm? (I also help poor, innocent earthworms across the sidewalk, so they don't dry up.) I know there is another type of worm that lives in water, and can travel up the urine stream...