Monday, June 20, 2011

The Crustacean and the Bank Incident

Sandwiched, as it is, between Memorial day and the July 4th holiday, is Father's Day. I had completely forgotten about it until last Thursday evening, when Sue and I were eating out. I was looking at the lobsters in the tank at the restaurant while talking on the phone with my daughter Sarah. She asked me what I wanted for Father's day, and, eyeing the lobsters, I made an off handed remark to the effect that I wanted a Crustacean.

Well, you know the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for." Yesterday evening Sarah and my son in law, Mike, stopped by to give me a Father's day gift. Imagine my surprise at receiving not one, but two hermit crabs, which are, after all, Crustaceans, though not as filling as lobster. No matter, dinner had passed and I wasn't hungry at the moment.

They came with a ten gallon tank and some shells and coconut fiber for their home. But I'm not really sure what I am going to do with them just yet. I might let them roam about the house freely, as I did with a couple of hermit crabs I bought for our kids at the beach years ago. I took them everywhere, the crabs I mean.

I used to let them roam about the house at will, sometimes not seeing them for weeks at a time. Then, just like kids, they would appear and embarass you at the most unexpected times. Initially people think they are looking at a spider of some sort when they first come out from under the sofa. Accordingly, they freak out a bit. But when I talk to them softly, the crabs calm down almost immediately.

By far the funniest thing I have ever done with a hermit crab involved the bank and the drive thru window. I used to work in Cockeysville, Maryland for an outfit called Anthem. I was the Estimator and also did the banking. At the time I used to carry one, or more, hermit crabs with me, placing them in my jacket pocket unti I needed them to do something. I cannot recall ever actually having used them for anything important, but the bank incident still stands out.

I was making a deposit of some checks to cover payroll and decided to use the drive thru lane rather than go inside the bank. Carefully placing my hermit crab in the carrier of the pneumatic tube, I sent my deposit, along with the crab, on what must have been, for the crab, something akin to a space shot.

"Whoosh", went the tube, sucking the carrier to it's destination inside the bank! The teller, with whom I was well acquainted, spoke into her microphone, "Hello, welcome to B, B and T." Then she opened the carrier and out came the deposit and a seashell. As she was recording the deposit and getting the receipt ready, the shell began to move. There was a slight exclamation of surprise as she realized what was happening, and then uncontrollable laughter as the crab was launched on it's return journey to my car.

So now, thanks to my joking about on the phone, and my daughter's sense of humor, I have two crustaceans roaming about the house. The last ones I had were about 15 years or so ago. I remember that one of them didn't do stairs well, while the other used to go behind the sofa and shrug it's shell off for a bit. I got it an even bigger shell, one with a guest room, but he didn't care for it much and stuck with the older, smaller one until he finally passed away from fright. Sue's parent's had come over with some crabs for a crab feast and I had placed him on the table as a joke. I'm afraid that he didn't get it, and thinking that his end was near, he siezed up and died right on the spot. Though no autopsy was performed, I have always maintained that he died of fright. I could be wrong, he may have simply been allergic to shellfish.

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