Dearly departed

A friend of mine has maintained a saltwater aquarium off-and-on for several years now, and she tends to find some pretty cool species to occupy it. She related this story to me a couple of years ago, and having been reminded of it recently, I’m obligated to feature it here.

She had, not long before she related this tale, obtained an exotic crab species for her tank, a colorful addition, and was inordinately pleased with it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very long before she looked in the tank one day to find it sprawled on the bottom, quite motionless. She was heartbroken, because she had already grown fond of the little guy – crabs, as we all know, bond devotedly to their owners and soon learn tricks, even snuggling up just for company. Maybe I’m thinking of something else here…

Anyway, she carried the poor lifeless husk out to the backyard and buried it – flushing simply wasn’t appropriate for her little friend. She did not tell me if any eulogy was delivered or not, but she made it clear she was pretty upset…

… to find, the following day, that the crab was still in the tank and perfectly healthy. It seems she had forgotten that crabs molt their exoskeletons routinely, and this was of course what she had found.

I simply find it delightful that she held a funeral for crustacean dandruff. I’m trying to imagine if the crab felt honored at its mere castoffs receiving such high honors, or slighted that it wasn’t invited to the ceremony.

“It was a lovely shell, protecting its owner against all threats while yet remaining fashionable, sprightly if you will. Those who knew it will not soon forget its articulation, its vibrancy, its keratinous embrace. But girth grows ever greater, and we must bid adieu to the past and back away from our fetters, too tight now in the cephalic groove, and free our chelipeds for bigger things…”

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