Below ground, it's dark, damp, desolate. Even the toughest annelid in the manure pile craves the company of his kind, and the Worm is no exception.
So where does a lonely Lumbricus terrestris go to hang with other lower life-forms?
You got it, Speedy -- you slither off to Jeff City!
Not only does the state capital offer mating opportunities aplenty, there are newsy nuggets enough to choke even a gossip glutton like Jerry Berger.
Take this one: a supersize hunk of fertilizer that nearly gave the Worm coronary thrombosis -- five times over.
The Worm hears that state Senator Bill Kenney has whipped out his Crayolas and is busily crafting a bill that'll stir more Show-Me State controversy than a bestiality ban.
The Lee's Summit Republican and former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback wants to repeal a 1999 law naming a six-mile stretch of Interstate 70 after Cardinal slugger Mark McGwire.
Remember Mark McGwire? The Redbird hero who slugged his way into the hearts and minds of all St. Louisans?
The way Kenney sees things, McGwire's nothing more than a "one-trick pony." As for the piece of highway that bears Big Mac's moniker, Kenney says it should be named for ex-Cardinal centerfielder Willie "E.T." McGee instead.
"McGwire, how long did he play here -- four-and-a-half years?" Kenney asks. "And the guy admitted he juiced up on andro. Lest we forget, that's like a steroid, folks!
"Willie gave the Cards thirteen years, 2,000 hits and a World Series title. And one look at Willie's beanpole frame and you know he's never touched a steroid -- or a weight, for that matter -- in his entire adult life."
Back in 1999, when then-Senator Danny Staples (D-Eminence) co-sponsored the McGwire Highway bill, Kenney was about the only elected official to raise a stink, making this rhetorical rationalization: "Do we have a Stan Musial Highway?"
"Musial didn't hit 70 home runs in one season," Staples said at the time.
McGwire's record proved remarkably brief, falling last year to San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who hit 73 four-sackers.
"In light of how short-lived McGwire's record was, I think it's pretty obvious we made a large, huge mistake that is emblematic of America's increasingly prevalent culture of instant gratification," says Kenney, who acknowledges that a repeal push is a long shot.
"A long shot?" snaps Staples. "The only thing that would be a longer shot is Kenney making the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"What a shit quarterback that guy was."