I was one of those kids that chased anything that moved – bugs, lizards, birds, cats… I’d pretty much pick up anything that wasn’t fast enough to escape my clumsy, but well-meaning clutches.
So, when my parents took me to a beach that was covered in scuttling crabs I thought I had died and gone to heaven. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of the little beggars rushing about, popping in and out of little holes in the sand. They were so cute and I was having a blast chasing them around trying to catch them, when suddenly, I hit the jackpot! I found a huge crab and I wanted it so freaking bad.
This crab seemed to know it was bigger than the others; it didn’t even try to run away from me. It just sat there – daring me to pick it up. Although I wanted more than anything in the world to do so, I was very aware of the size of its claws. So, I just stood there for a time trying to work out the best way to pick it up, while also trying to estimate the potential pain if those claws got a hold of me. As I was pondering these things a kindly old man wandered by and saw my dilemma.
He explained to me that if I just reached from behind and picked it up with my thumb and index finger then the crab’s claws wouldn’t be able to reach my fingers. It sounded plausible; he seemed like a nice old man and why would a nice old man lie to me? Plus, old people knew stuff about the world. Now that I was armed with this new knowledge I decided to pick up the crab using the kindly old man’s technique.
I picked up the crab feeling super confident. I turned the crab to face me so I could look at it closely. I was so cool – I knew how to pick up crabs! Suddenly the crab began to reach underneath itself with its giant claws. I didn’t care, because I knew how to pick up crabs!
Apparently the crab didn’t know about my special crab-picking-up technique because it casually reached under its belly, grabbed my index finger and pinched it violently until it drew blood. I let out a blood-curdling scream and flung the poor crab to the ground. The old man was nowhere to be seen and I ran off bleeding, screaming and crying to my parents.
It was about another fifteen years before I understood their enormous amusement when I told them, while crying hysterically, that I was never, ever trusting an old person ever again!
Where did the old man go and what happened to the crab? Who knows?
I have a pretty good idea, though.
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