Dear Dr. Boli: What is the morality of inchworms? I have never been able to figure this out. Now that I think about it, what is the mortality of inchworms? —Sincerely, Your devoted reader, Miss Gwendolin Elaine Montmorency-Tudor.

Dear Madam: Inchworms per se have no moral value: they are neither moral nor immoral. Doubtless this is why your best efforts at coming up with an answer to your question proved fruitless. In our world of sin and consumer fraud, however, such is the depravity of nature that there are creatures that try to pass themselves off as inchworms, though they really measure perhaps seven-eighths of an inch, or an inch and a quarter. Needless to say, there is no excuse for that kind of deception, which should be reported at once to the enforcement division of your local bureau of weights and measures.

An attempt some years back to replace the inchworm with the superficially similar two-and-a-half-centimeter worm was a dismal failure, leading many entomologists to conclude that the inchworm is probably immortal.