"Don't Touch Me!" - Crab

It is amazing what little lessons life tosses my way as I stumble and fumble and pretend I know what I am doing from day to day. I've always enjoyed the little things in life that surprise me when they show up. It happens everyday but most of the time we, as people, are too busy to

notice it. Guess that is one of the curses of being human: our natural gift to be oblivious to both the small picture and the big picture. I am, in all honesty, no different as I, too, have my times of absolute obliviousness to the world. On Saturday, I got a chance to see the world a little differently.


Let me introduce you to this little crab. As a seafood lover I tend to view fish, crabs and, hell, most sea life in terms of "can I eat it?" This little guy was no different as I noticed him as I was walking down the Manchester Boat Ramp. There he was --- hmmm, is it a he or a she or does it prefer they/them? Well, whatever the little crab identifies as, it was just sitting there on the dock chilling. Actually, before I get to that I should probably back up a few steps in my journey to meeting this little one.


After teaching my third fitness class of the day my friend and I decided to take the water back to my house to drop me off. As we cruised along the coastline of this small town, the sky painted a great deal of nice picture opportunities. It was dark and light. It looked stormy and calm. It was both ominous and beautiful. As we drove out of Port Orchard and into Manchester I told my friend that I wanted to get a picture from the boat ramp. The boat ramp in Manchester, for those that do not know this little town, has a direct line of site to Seattle and, more importantly for me at least, the Space Needle. Over the years I have taken hundreds of pictures from that spot. (Side Note: Mount Rainier is also very photogenic from there, too.) In any case, Seattle and the sky drew me to this little dock. Here is one of the pictures I first took when we arrived at the dock/boat ramp.

The picture doesn't do the sky justice but I still like it. I always like it. That is the curse of loving pictures: you just want to like them all. In any case, I am off track here so let's get back on track.


As I walked down the dock I saw the little crab. It is not uncommon to see crabs and shells of clams or fish remains on the docks as we have plenty of birds who, like birds tend to do, go fishing in the waters. When I first saw the crab I said to my friend, "Damn, someone ate well" since it was a pretty big crab for that spot. As I got closer I didn't see any signs of it being savagely eaten alive like I am used to. In fact, it looked pretty much unharmed. As I got closer it was just there but as soon as my foot got within and inch, it moved. Wait... This thing is alive? If you know nature you know that the majority of animals that don't interact with people will scurry away when people get near. This dude just sat there. Perplexed at this act my friend and I investigated.


Look at the first picture again.


Did you notice anything? At the bottom, the crab has two legs stuck between the slats of the boards. It isn't moving because it can't move. I realize that it was completely still to not draw attention to itself. It is vulnerable. Hell, it is lunch served up on a perfect platter for a bird who happens to have a keen eye. The prey captured itself? This just seems a bit unfair to me. It's like those "big game hunters" who use all those high-powered weapons and kill from 300 yards away and proudly claim how great a hunter they are because of it. I think to myself that I cannot let this little dude or dudette or whatever go out like this. I'm going to help this crab.


Here's the thing, and the point of this blog, I can help the crab. I may have to break one of its legs off but it will be able to survive that way. It will absolutely not survive if I leave it where it is as its shell is already pretty dry and the birds are bound to notice it at some point. So I do the right thing and try to help.


When I leaned down to take a better look at the situation the little crab did this:

It reared back, claws opened and legs as wide as could be. Why would it do that if I was trying to help it? Seems a bit crazy but at last I continue my work. I use my cellphone to block the crabs Matrix-like movements. I'm having no luck as the crab is in full "defend the castle" mode. I look to my friend and say I need a stick or pen or something. Neither one of us had one and my phone wasn't going to get this leg unstuck. The fight continues.


Wait! I have a brilliant idea. My (afro) pick. I can use that to maybe pull the little guy's leg out. Phone blocking the barrage of crab attacks, I insert the teeth of my pick under, and --- Boom! One leg is free. Now, you would think the crab would realize I am trying to help it. Nope. The free leg joins the defensive battle. Why save something that just wants to fight you? The battle rages on. What I have left is the larger of the two legs. It is stuck in deeper. I really wonder if I have to break it off to save this little ungrateful freak. Hell, I'm pretty sure there is a pot of water boiling somewhere that it could be in instead. Yet, I continue. After a few more defensive blocks using the cellphone, I finally free the crab who then gets a leg stuck in the other slat. After a few more battles, I flip the crab into the water where it floats to the bottom. So, yes, I saved the crab.


But, Sean, you said this was the reason for your blog? Was it to tout you saving a crab you probably would have eaten on any other occasion? I am glad you asked, my friends. The crab made me realize a little thing that reflects us as people.


Do not fight those who are trying to help you. Not all help comes in the form of "Hey, I am here to help!" and not all that are helping are really "helping." In each of our lives we will have those who are trying their best to help us get out of a bad situation, bad decision or even a dangerous one. Be careful of alienating those who would help you for those who won't. The little crab would probably have died on that dock had we not stopped to help it. It fought. But still, we fought harder to save it. Sounds a lot like someone going through substance abuse or a young adult/kid having behavioral problems in school. This is a friendly reminder that those on your side are trying to help. Don't fight them because you never know when they will stop fighting for you.


Today, a little crab put up a fight for its life. Lucky for it, I fought harder. Do not make others fight harder for your life than you. Just a Thought, my friends!