The Crabby Chemist

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Good buddy Greg O’Keefe from Chemcare knows I’m always on the lookout for the odd bit of esoterica. He came marching into the office the other day with a box in his hands.

When he opened it, I jumped back as if I’d seen some great nasty crabs yearning to sever my fingers one by one. In fact, I was exactly right. These are two of the biggest mud crabs that I’ve seen. Of course, I haven’t seen them all:

Greg and his big mud crabs

Greg said that a lady from the highlands had been catching them up by St. Fidelis using a string, a hook and a bit of meat. That struck us both as amusing.

First off, highlanders are not generally known for their fishing skills. They excel at many tasks, but pulling crabs is not one of them.

Then there’s the method. Honestly, I don’t know what the preferred way of catching mud crabs is – I’ve never tried. I can’t eat them, since I’m deathly allergic to shellfish. However, the thought of a highlands lady poking around in the mangroves with a string, a hook, and some bits of meat seems whimsical to me. Frankly, I’d like to see it.

Finally there’s the whole thing of getting the grumpy things subdued. These critters can do you serious damage in a heartbeat.

A similar beast we’re all familiar with is the coconut crab. Once when we had visitors at our house, I spied a big coconut crab in the front yard and decided to demonstrate my prowess with creatures disposed to cause great pain to humans.

Stupidly, I thought, “I’ll grab him from behind the carapace. He can’t possibly reach back that far to nip me.”

Hah!

Don’t ever try that!

The coconut crab has spines on its pincers. One of the spines penetrated completely through my thumbnail and blood gushed. Furthermore, it seemed impossible to force the stinking thing to let go. I performed a demented little dance around in the yard while the others stood back to avoid the crimson fountain.

I finally managed to bend over, flop the tenacious little crud-eater on the ground, and stomp on him as hard as I could with my bare foot. I wasn’t sure which was going to break first – my foot, my thumb, or his shell. He finally succumbed to my relentless tramping and I was able to extract my throbbing digit.

On reading the article mentioned in the link above, I discovered this amusing but useless suggestion:

It may be interesting to know that in such a dilemma a gentle titillation of the under soft parts of the body with any light material will cause the crab to loose his hold.

Yeah. I’m sure that that’s going to work. 

A couple of things have happened to me in my sixty-four years that were just possibly a little more painful. One of them had something to do with shooting myself in my own leg.

But, I don’t want to talk about that.

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2 Responses to “The Crabby Chemist”

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