If you cannot beat ’em, why not eat ’em?

Because I live on Earth, there are lots of other living things near—not to mention on and in—me. Some of these beings I’ve been conditioned to think of as beneficial, like the bacteria in my digestive tract that permit me to live, or not. Some, like the snails in my garden, I’ve come to think of as a nuisance and, so, deserving of death.

I don’t approve of wanton killing. I’m not sure what “wanton” means, unnecessary I guess. Necessary for what? So when there are holes in the red cabbages and snail tracks all around, what’s my course of action? I know I do not want my peppers to go the way of the broccoli last year, weak and gasping from the very slow attacks of the snail armada.

I tried the beer ploy, where you put out shallow containers of beer, which the snails can’t resist and then drown in a stupor, getting what they deserve and leaving me out of the picture, it being no fault of mine if the slimy things have so little control over their own impulses as to drown in the embodiment of their weakness. I put a jar cap filled with beer level with the soil, like I’d read, just as a snail was approaching, no kidding, and the snail oozed around it, like it was offended and couldn’t wait to get past.

I was crushed, my faith in the Internet shaken, the snails swaggering round the cabbages and gathering at the dark damp base of the walnut tree. Now I think the problem is my reluctance to kill snails on sight and be done with it, the way I used to. Ahimsa is making me a sissy. I was a city boy, and I don’t know squat about farm animals and casual life and death, and I’ve killed some insects and frogs and worms and maybe a snake or two and once a rat whose luck ran out, but by the time I encountered snails I was eating more consciously, and I’m sure you know what a pain that can be. I’ve watched snails explode with salt and apparently ignore diatomaceous earth, but I didn’t want to crush them. What a wimp.

What to do with the snails? I could relocate them to the wild, or at least to the guys down the alley. Is that fair? Is fair necessary? Fair is necessary, and I think fair in this case requires eating the snails, so that’s what I’m gonna do, maybe. Organic escargots in garlic butter. Sustainable, too.