An English Slug

Jet lag. Lying in bed mouthing, “I must sleep.” And the mind is no where near contemplating this possibility. That is the back drop for the most recent philosophical chat with 8-yr-old Liam. In the dark at 2 a.m. in England over Christmas. The last big question he put out there was: “Are slugs nocturnal?” The question may have been cows in Iowa or the squirrels at home. But in England: slugs.

Honestly, I didn’t know, but it was a thought-provoking question. As Liam drifted off, my mind latched onto the question. I think slugs just move as they can where they can. Certainly they can’t think, “Ahhh, dusk is approaching! I must hurry to shelter!” No, I think they just sleep where they get tired, be it day or night.

We gave up trying to get the boys adjusted to English time; they slept until very late morning and went to bed no earlier than midnight. A week later, again another philosophical discussion in bed, in the wee English hours. “Mom,” Liam started hotly, “Slugs ARE nocturnal! I stepped on one tonight walking back to Grandma’s from Auntie’s! My socks got all sluggy!”

I nearly gagged. English slugs are big. This is a healthy English slug, next to my sister-in-law's finger:

Ooo-ga. I really felt for the kid! That was not worm squishin’ that was creature squishin.’ With only socks on to boot. I had forgotten our conversation the following morning; otherwise, I would have thrown that pair of socks away along with the ones caked in mud.

And now I'm wondering, in my cold-induced jet-lagged state, how big does a spider, worm, bug, or rodent need to be to elevate it to an unsquishable creature? Of course, there is no generic answer for that, for we all have different tolerance levels. From English to Iowan standards, I'm somewhere in between.

(These tolerance levels between Bill's family and my family are best portrayed, respectively, in Uncovering the Real England: Spiders and Dancing with a Foreign City Slicker.)