Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Friend In Need Catches The Worm

I bought a new hard disk today and was sorting stuff on my laptop before I could transfer it to the disk. And I found a weird little piece of writing.

There was once this debate at work, a block-and-tackle rather, with some very amusing topics. The rule was that each contestant had some specific time and was supposed to come with views both in favour and against the topic given. In the allotted time and when he would begin speaking, the judges could call out block or tackle whenever they pleased and the contestant was supposed to change his stand and start talking as called out immediately – against the topic to block it or in favour to tackle it. And my topic was ‘A Friend In Need Catches The Worm’!

Here is some of the material that I wrote down back then:


A Chinese proverb goes – “With money you are a dragon; with no money, a worm”.
In today’s money-minded world, no matter how good a friend someone is, shelling out moolah for a friend who needs it has become a rare occurrence. He will remain your friend all the same. In that sense, a friend in need does not catch the worm.

Ambrose Bierce, American Short Story Writer, said – “Edible. Good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.” As you embark on that final journey of life, your body rests in the ground and becomes one with and nourishes the earth and all that lives in it – at that moment as worms get their share of nourishment from your mortal remains and your soul takes flight, a friend even if he feels that what’s left of you needs to be saved, does not catch the worm. He can’t…and as a duty towards the planet, maybe he shouldn’t.

“Time, as is well known, sometimes flies like a bird and sometimes crawls like a worm” said Russian Author Ivan Turgenev. There are occasions in life when you want time to fly by for example when you are having a really bad day…but time worms along. You need emotional and moral support and most of all for that time to pass. At such times, your friend can support you but he will not catch that worm of time and turn it into a bird as if by magic. He can’t and he won’t.

Immanuel Kant said, “If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.” A worm also means ‘something that penetrates, injures, or consumes slowly or insidiously, like a gnawing worm’. Source? Dictionary.Com. When you have worms like self-doubt, low self-esteem, inferiority complex gnawing at your conscience despite the fact that you may be one of the most talented people around, and you refuse to let them go, nurture them and feed them the delicious bits of your confidence, your friend  - no matter how much he wants to help you in such times of need – will not be able to catch those worms.

Oh that feeling! Your stomach does somersaults, you feel weak in the knees, and your head swoons – either you are in love or you have worms in your guts. Your friend will not be able to catch those worms for sure!


American Computer Scientist Alan Perlis said, “In software systems it is often the early bird that makes the worm.” While I am still figuring out what that means, I do know that in computer science jargon WORM stands for Write Once Read Many. In any class exam, we have seen the scenario – the brainy guy writes all the answers and becomes a friend in need for the others by letting them read his answers and copy, by catching the worm, by allowing Write Once Read Many. Indeed, a friend in need catches the worm!

Someone has said, “Even if you've been fishing for 3 hours and haven't gotten anything except poison ivy and sunburn, you're still better off than the worm.” Imagine you are out on a fishing trip with friends. Naturally, when you are out of bait it would only be a friend in need who would catch the worm with you.

A worm refers to ‘computer code planted illegally in a software program so as to destroy data in any system that downloads the program, as by reformatting the hard disk’. Source? Dictionary.Com. And in such cases isn’t it friends in need like IT-OPS who catch the worm and solve our problems?

Another interpretation of a worm is ‘A person regarded as pitiable or contemptible’. And yes, when you are hanging around with such a lot you need someone to warn you, it will be your friend who will catch the worm and guard your best interests even if it means the risk of getting you upset momentarily.

“A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm,” declared American Author Bill Vaughan. Remember the time when you were young and your mother absolutely forbade you from playing in the dirt and touching unidentified crawling objects? You were curious about those creepy crawlies yet could not muster the courage to catch them, and only your best pal accompanied you and caught the worm.


How I miss my debating days! : (

4 Thinkers Pondered:

Raksha Bhat said...

We all are worms in a way or the crawling caterpillars...not all of us make strong and beautiful butterflies:)
My first visit here through...Nice post Anupama:)

Good day:)

Sowmya said...


Anonymous said...

"When you have worms like self-doubt, low self-esteem, inferiority complex gnawing at your conscience..."

I feel I have been growing in life, achieved bigger things, met different people.. the worms still exist.
What does one do to get rid of these worms?

Anupama said...

Hey Raksha,

Thank you so much for stopping by :) Really like that thought you left me with in your comment...

Hey Sowmya,

Thanks a lot! :)

Hey Anonymous Reader,

I'm hardly someone that can advise on this matter but I feel the worms exist because we feed them and nurture them. Once we know that we have an infection, half the battle is won through that discernment. All we need to do is stop feeding them with our confidence and our thoughts; I am sure they will diminish and die.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and let me know your thoughts!