I cannot recall how my association with Botch the Crab began. As far back as March 1999 he had taken over this website and my online persona with his caustic wit and salty charms. But I cannot recall his invention. I never had an special interest in crabs growing up. When Botch comes up in conversation, the first thing people usually ask is, "Are you a Cancer?" To which I respond along the lines of, "Oh, definitely. Astrologically, too." Unsurprisingly, I've never given a shit about horoscopes and constellations. Nonetheless, I do feel a certain kinship with crabs. I like to armor myself against the world. I like leading with my claws. When given two choices as an ultimatum, I'll often move crabwise to the side instead. And crabs just look cool.
"So why would you eat crabs?" I was asked this over the weekend while sitting down with a bunch of friends to crack, scoop and dig in to some whole crabs. I'd never cleaned and eaten a whole crab before, probably because I don't like touching animals or insects or people or living things in general. (Give me a choice between lying on the sidewalk and lying on the grass and I'll probably take the former.) But crabs are really yummy, and I like to overcome my fears and aversions, so there I was, cleaning, cooking and consuming crustaceans. I would have done live crabs, but that would have involved keeping a half-dozen in my bathtub overnight, and that wasn't going to happen.
OK, obviously my affinity for crabs doesn't extend to ousting them from my diet. But why would I make a point of ingesting them? I guess part of it is the literal aspect of "You are what you eat." By eating crabs, I become more crab-like! More crabby, if you must.
Crack, scoop, butter, yum... If you've eaten crabs or crab legs yourself, you know the event can be quite engrossing. The film of the world separates into three layers: you and the crab; the other people who are eating crab with you; and then the entire rest of existence. It's a bonding experience.
Late that night, at 2:30am, after the drunken revelers had all departed, Heather industriously set about cleaning up the entire apartment, including the thoroughly ravaged kitchen. Me? I drunkenly cracked, boiled and ate the last crab!