The survivor

Today, as I was cleaning up the kitchen and Kevin was outside cleaning out the boat, I heard a cry. At first I thought he’d hurt his back again, but the “Honey, can you come here?” didn’t seem to be infused with that note of excruciating pain.

I walked outside. “You’ve got to see this,” Kevin said from the bow of the boat.

He was leaning over the boat’s cooler, which was open. I climbed up to look inside. At the bottom was a crab. It had been in the cooler for a week and a half, having escaped from the bag that held its fifteen brethren, and it was still alive.

“Should we cook it?” I asked.

“It’s probably emaciated by now,” said Kevin.

“I’d hate for it to die for nothing.”

We both just looked at it for a while.

“It’s not that I’m sentimental about a crustacean,” Kevin said. “But since it lasted this long, maybe it’s earned a reprieve. Let’s take it to Prince Cove and set it free.”

Sounded good to me. We headed out to the boat ramp, which is about two miles south of us, despite the fact that our lunch guests were due within the hour and we were behind on preparation.

I expected the ramp to be empty, but there were two young boaty looking guys taking their 21-foot Boston Whaler out of the water. Now Kevin’s always been in touch with his feminine side, but I figured even a man as liberated as he is wouldn’t want to be seen releasing a crab back into the wild.

“Let’s go over there,” I said, pointing to the side of the ramp away from where the guys were winching the boat onto their trailer, which was attached to a big, muscular Chevy pick-up. I had the crab in a box, and there was no need for them to see what we were doing on the other side of the pier.

But there’s no embarrassing my husband. He took the crab out of the box, in full view of the guys, and jumped down off the pier to the water’s edge. One of the guys came over to see what was going on. Kevin told him.

“When I was pulling my lobster pots out of the bay a couple weeks ago, I got a bunch of crabs as bycatch. We ate most of them, but I just found this one today when I was washing down my boat, and I figured it was too skinny to eat, so we decided to put it back.” He didn’t actually flex his biceps as he said this, but even I, who generally doesn’t know subtext even if it jumps up and spits in my eye, understood the message. Only real men pull lobster pots and have bycatch and wash down boats.

“Huh,” said the guy, and went back to his boat.

“Loved how you worked in the lobster pots,” I said when he was gone.

“Yeah, well, I didn’t want him to think I was Mary Tyler Moore or anything.”

Good thing the guy wasn’t there four hours later. That was when Kevin, after our last guests had gone, said to me, “Let’s go back and check on the crab.”

The crab was still there, but it wasn’t doing well. We moved it to deeper water. “I hope it survives,” Kevin said as we watched it sink to the bottom. But he’s not sentimental about a crustacean. Not him.

7 people are having a conversation about “The survivor

  1. I hope he or she survives too, and fathers or mothers a lot more of his or her kind for you guys to catch later. That, I think, would be deserving karma. Good job.

  2. I love your sense of priorities! Dinner can definitely wait when there are crustaceans to be cared for. Go Kevin! Good thinking too – fatten him up and catch him again later. Like a savings(sand)bank…

  3. A crab (like many animals) denied nourishment will atrophy, consuming its own flesh to survive.
    If you look closely enough you can tell the crab from the hold of our boat even went blind. The choices we were presented with were pretty simple. We could throw the crab in the garbage, cook him and feed what little was left of him to the chickens, or give him back to the sea where I am quite confident he was devoured in no time by his own kind. Unsentimentally I chose C.

  4. Sadly, I suspect it was option C. The crab was in all likelihood consumed by something near the pier. There is a non-sentimental, not anthropomorphic way to view this in a good light, though. The crab was returned to the environment which it came from and lived in (the sea), and by it’s demise it returned the essence of its corporeal being to further other lives in that environment. This is far better than adding to the problems at landfills, or being misused as a marginal feed and calcium supplement for poultry. Now, I am not saying that eating a crab is misusing it. I am saying that the best and highest use of this crab was found in the sea, not on land. More of what was left was put to good use in the sea than could have been used by people or poultry.

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