Worm Grunting

Before we get into this topic, Fakename would like to announce that after her post about Afghanistan, she vowed to post nothing else of a controversial nature until after the holidays.  However, the U.S. Senate is making this very hard on her.  But a promise is a promise, even if it’s to yourself. 

It’s kind of like a self-imposed Lent.  My imperfect understanding is that during Lent, you must give up something, and it has to be something significant.  You can’t, for example, give up Brussel sprouts just because you hate them.  No, you have to give up something you like.  So it seems to me that during Lent, if you observe it, the only thing you’ll be able to think about is your next hit of Brussel sprouts. 

Moving along to the topic, the TV show Dirty Jobs (Discovery Channel) on Tuesday of this week did an episode on worm grunting.  I was alerted to it by an article in the Tallahassee newspaper that morning. 

The worm grunting capital of the world is in Sopchoppy, Florida.  As the video I’ll post at the end says, Sopchoppy is 35 miles and 100 years south of Tallahassee. 

The process of worm grunting involves driving a sharpened wooden stake into the ground, then grinding a large iron file rhythmically across the stake, which produces a sort of groaning (“grunting”) sound.  (Grunters call this a “roop”).  Earthworms then start pouring out to the surface.  Really.  It works.  You pick them up and sell them for bait.  Mr. Revell, who was the star of the Dirty Jobs episode and of the video I’m about to post, said he gets either 6 or 7 cents a worm.  The most worms he ever got in one day was 45,000.  Do the math.  And he does it every day, starting before dawn. 

I am totally fascinated by this whole thing for several reasons.  First, that it has its own language (“roop”).  Second, the scientific basis.  Grunters apparently place great faith in the nature of the sound you’re able to create (the “grunt”).  But in fact, earthworms can’t hear.  But aha…biologists have determined, or, I should say, theorized, that the vibrations of grunting cause the earthworms to flee to the surface to escape imagined underground predators, specifically, moles.  It would make sense that the “grunting” would have to closely approximate the vibrations caused by moles, therefore, you could get it wrong. 

The final thing I would say is:  never make fun of how people make a living, and these people, the Revells, are doing just that, making a living.  They work for themselves and answer to no one.  They get to “work” in the Appalachicola National Forest every day. 

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs has barely contained contempt for the people he’s visiting.  His whole attitude fairly screams, “I’m only doing this for the money.”  I have much more respect for Mrs. Revell, who said, I love being out here and hearing the birds in the morning.  Check out Worm Grunting in the Neighborhood.

4 responses to “Worm Grunting

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    I’ve done that before along with a bunch of other whacked out things like gator hunting, mule skinning, and prospecting for emeralds. I, like you have a profound respect for anyone that works hard and asks nothing from no one.

    Incidentally, Ayn Rand would agree with both of us.

  2. Rowe is the spokesman in new Ford ads. The DH wonders (aloud and EVERY time one of those ads comes on) why anyone would find him a persuasive pitchman.

    (Well, maybe not every time.)

    At $0.07, 45,000 earthworms is a tidy haul of cash for a day’s work.

    Remind me, Fakename, to dig up a T-shirt I’ve seen to send to you as a present. “English major – you do the math”

  3. I sent this to my mother and some childhood friends last spring. Everyone enjoyed it.

    Once in 1971 while I lived in Blountstown I took my 7 year old daughter out into the Apalachicola Forest and showed her how to get worns by using the saw and a wooden stake. It was much more work than you might think. She was way underimpressed and wondered if I had lost my mind……….she was ready to leave very quickly:)

    Merry Christmas

    Going to go see Sherlock Holmes now.

  4. If I only could make my living playing poker…..

    But I guess it’s better I play itjust for “entertainment.”

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