Sunday, August 16, 2009


The interpreter picked up the phone. “Interpreter,” he said.

“Hi there. Do you know anything about moles?” a woman asked.

“The animals?”

“Yes, the ones that dig in lawns.”

“I’m familiar with them,” said the interpreter. “What would you like to know about them? “ He knew what the woman wanted to know about them. She wanted to know how to get rid of them. She was one of those, one of the many, whose sole reason for contacting a nature centre was to find a cheap and easy means of animal control. How do I get rid of moles? How do I get rid of squirrels? How do I get rid of raccoons? How do I get rid of Barn Swallows? The list was endless.

“What attracts them?”

“Soft, rich soil with lots of earthworms.”

“It’s the worms that attract them?”

“Yes,” he said. Now she’ll want to get rid of the worms. “Worms are important to soil,” he said.

“Oh I know. Maybe I don’t have enough.”


“Yes, do you know where I can get more?”

“You want more worms?”

“For the moles.”

“You want to feed the moles?”

“I want to attract some moles. I always liked molehills when I was a little girl, but my father would put poison down them to kill the moles. I was always upset by that. I would think of the poor moles curled up dead under the grass. Now I have my own lawn, and I want my moles back.”

“You want moles in your lawn.”


The interpreter was sitting at his desk, staring into space as Stacey came into the nature house. He said nothing to her. She waved a hand in front his face. “Why are you looking so stunned?” she asked.

He said, “I’ve just had my mind blown.

Full list of stories 


Marvin said...

I just happen to have a few spare moles out in the garden if the lady is still interested.

Seabrooke said...

I get a lot of emails of that nature; I wouldn't be the least surprised that nature centres get a lot of phone calls. It's nice when someone totally defies convention and actually wants to encourage one of these "unpleasant" critters. Wish there were more folks like that.

Sally said...

Shows to go-- you never can tell. A woman after my heart!

Karen said...

Well, true or not, good story. Thanks for the chuckle.

Cool that you lived in the EB. I didn't get over to the AoS too much so I probably never asked you a stupid question. Have you been back since they spiffed the heck out of it? If so, what do you think?

spinyurchin said...

Your character *seems* like an angel, but I bet she just wanted to create a giant Whack-A-Mole in her backyard.

randomtruth said...

Part II of the story, she calls to learn how to help them line their tunnels with tin foil so the aliens can't spy on them... :)

You want moles? Plant a garden.

Good stuff Hugh.

Hugh said...

Karen, I haven't been to the Cal Acad since it was renovated. It was still under re-construction the last time I was there.

Karen said...

I only went in for a second, after my family was done (I was across the way at the new, also spiffed up DeYoung) but it looked pretty amazing. HUGE crowds, long lines, so even if it's all razzle dazzle, maybe the percentage of folks who live in or visit SF who know at least a little something about the natural world is increasing. At least, one would hope so, after all those millions and years it too to construct it!

Garden Lily said...

Reminds me of a posting I saw on a seed exchange asking for dandelion seeds. It is all in the eye of the beholder. I still love grasshoppers in my garden, and hope each year to spot one or two. But the snails have lost their appeal, they are definitely over the fence (into the ravine, not my neighbour's garden, of course).

thestickman said...

This is a cute anecdotal story! I love it! :-)