Sheltered Islander

Sheltered Islander: Dental Floss—Not Just for Teeth Anymore

A crab, like any other creature, must teach it’s young how to find food. Today, Tony is teaching his son Mel how to hunt food at Wades Beach. Hidden among the rocks, Tony imparts generations of knowledge to Mel.

“Alright, Mel, here we go. Human mothers. Mothers bring offspring with them. They all have those dark rings under their eyes. They only have two speeds, tired and very tired. Their hair looks messy or is covered with a scarf or hat, sometimes both. They commonly threaten to kill the offspring. You’ll hear things like, ‘don’t hold your sister’s head under the water again or I’ll come in the water and drown you myself.’ or ‘Jimmy, so help me, if you shove Marky’s head in the sand again, and sit on it, I’ll kill you. I’m gonna sit on your head for five minutes.’

“But they don’t mean it, right? It’s like when Mom threatens to rip out my crusher claw and feed me to the lobsters. Mothers only threaten to maim and kill because they love us, right, Dad?”

“Exactly. Now, see all the tote bags they carry? Some bags have towels and this lotion they coat there offspring in so the can slide through the water better. The other bags are filled with food. Sandwiches, cookies, licorice, no rotting meat, but you can’t have everything.”

“Hey, look, Dad, more females. But they don’t look tired, and they’re smiling. They’re slimmer than the mother ones too. They look so different, why is that, Dad?”

“That’s what all the females look like before they have young. Slim, pretty, energetic.”

“If that’s what becoming a mother does to them, why would they ever agree to have offspring?”

“No one knows, son. Some say love is the cause. Some say tequila.”

“They all bring water in a bottle and a few crackers to eat. But just keep watching them, son. You’ll see how they sneak out candy and sandwiches and eat in a way no one sees. It must be a cultural rule that only mothers can be seen eating.”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, that’s one of the big ones. The white in her hair means she’s allowed to be seen eating. Watch this, son. That’s a folding chair. Watch what happens when she sits in it.”

“Oh, Dad, she sank all the way down in the sand! Ha ha ha. Hey, she just threw a piece of chicken our way. There’s no string on it, Dad. Can we go get it? “

“Might as well son, look over there. Joe and Martin are making a run for it too. Hey, she tossed out another piece. Notice how it’s closer to her, son?”

“Yeah, Dad, but still no string.”

“You’re right. Well, she certainly can’t catch us, let’s go party!”

“Oh, Dad, Dad, look, smell….a big fat piece of rotting fat back. Smells so good. Here comes Pete and Andy too. They’ll eat everything. I’m going over, Dad. Everybody is, c’mon.”


“Hi Mom, bring salad. I got six crabs for dinner. No, I threw out a few rotting chicken wings, then some salt pork gone bad, I tied dental floss. They never saw it. I just lured them closer and netted them with the crab net with the broken handle. It’s perfect for beach chair crabbing.”

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