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Contradiction City

I hate bugs. Insects, that is. Hate 'em, hate 'em. Most of them ick me right the heck out.

On the other hand, I think that crabs, specifically blue crabs but several other varieties as well, are adorable.

And really, crabs are just really big, sea-going beetles that taste good.

This was brought home to me tonight because I was watching an episode of "Good Eats" entitled "Crustacean Nation III", and the theme was (you guessed it) crabs, and a subplot for the night involved an "escaped" live crab being hunted in the background all over the set by the "crab wrangler", and occasionally Alton Brown would, like, pull open a drawer or turn around, and there tucked into a serving dish or perched on a hanging pot, without him noticing, would be the live blue crab -- waving its little claws as if to say, "you'll never catch me! ha hah hah hah!"

And every time they showed it, I went, "AWWWWWWW!"

The odd thing is -- I often say that I don't like insects because they are small and fast-moving and they get out of my sight and out of my control. But tiny crabs? Even cuter than adult crabs. Would I let a cockroach run all over my hand? EXCUSE ME? Hell, no! Not unless you gave me a substantial sum of money, anyway. But teeny little fast-moving baby crabs? Yes, have gone to great lengths just to find them and catch them in tidal pools for the sole purpose of letting them run around on my hand until.... oh LOOK, it tried to PINCH me, isn't that CUUUUUUUUTE?????

I don't get this.

Maybe it has to do with the way I was raised, or something. Some of my earliest memories involve being taken out crabbing (yeah, that's odd, too -- I see absolutely no contradiction between thinking they are adorable, and not only finding them good to eat, but being willing to catch them live myself, cook them, and dismember them), and my parents allowing undersized ones that we couldn't keep run around on the boat for a few seconds before tossing them back; or of taking the bushel back to the house and putting on the pot (with the Old Bay Seasoning and all), and the inevitable part of the process that involved at least one crab making a break for freedom, and dancing around the kitchen with upraised claws, scaring the cat, until being captured by tongs.

Still, really -- why this should have translated into Crab Tolerance and even Fondness, I don't know. And it inspires other philosophical thoughts, such as -- if I had grown up in a place that had palmetto bugs (i.e. Jumbo Cockroaches), would I be inclined to find them cute as well, instead of being inclined to throw a giant hissy-fit when I see even the FEELERS of one? I dunno.

I think... I might look into getting a little land-crab as a pet. I used to have hermit-crabs when I was a kid (of course), but they're not the same.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
we had hermit crabs in 7th grade. i love something about how they move. it doesn't feel bug-like. or certain kinds of bug-like. and i am *so* not going to describe the kind of bugs i'm thinking of because, eek.

i've been known to astonish people with how quickly i can move when faced with certain bugs. enough said. except i wonder if there is some sort of instinctual human response to how certain animals *move*?

growing up going to east penobscot bay in maine we used to eat and watch a lot of crabs. and they are all over the place.

and now i'm hungry, stone crab is wonderful and they have the most gorgeous shells. i get them in florida every november.

also...just saw a special on crabs on the science discovery channel a few weeks ago. they showed the most amazing range...from incredibly huge, to the ones that migrate on that island who's name i've forgotten. and these very tiny ones that have translucent shells.

yeah, crabs. *bg*

ps. still hungry. *sigh*
Jan. 19th, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC)
i think it makes perfect sense. pleasant childhood memories are surely the strongest reason to think of something fondly, right?

a land crab could be fun. on good days i'm still enjoying the turtle. ;-/
Jan. 19th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
I never had a crab for a pet, but I feel the same way: land bugs = ick; but marine "bugs" are just fascinating! I've gone diving at night and spent the whole time enthralled by all the 6 and 8 legged critters to be seen on the reef; totally un-freaked out by jointed legs 6 inches long, and bulbous eyes on wiggly stalks, and looong waving feelers and moving mouthparts and scary claws. Every now and then I'd realize that I'm looking at a Great Big Icky Bug! Maybe a foot across! Ewww! But the feeling just doesn't stick. And the porcelain crabs are just the prettiest little things, all pink and cream colored, sitting there constantly waving their fringed claws back and forth in front of their mouths, like they're fanning themselves.

Maybe it's because they all have personality. And especially because they have big eyes that we humans respond to. I don't think cockroaches have either.

Jan. 20th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
Is it a size thing?
I wonder if the land-bugs get big enough will the ick factor goes down? My first encounter with a Weta (giant cricket-like bug about 4 inches long) was startling. I was clearing brush and it crawled out of the undergrowth. My eye saw black and yellow chitin and my brain very quickly decided a jump backwards was in order (with the words "ahhhhh- giant centipede!" flashing through my mind). Now I just pick the little buggers up and take them somewhere safe, as they are native and moderately rare.

Of course, I wear gloves as some species will try and give you a bite, and at that size they have rather large mouth-parts. :)

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )