From the Dan’s Archive: After Effects of the 4th of July Crab Biting Problem

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In this story from the July 14, 1977 of The East Hampton Summer Sun, Dan recounts a conversation he had over the Fourth of July weekend with his daughter, then 6 years old. As Dan and Maya debate whether crabs bite, kid logic takes over.

On the Fourth of July, I was lying on the beach in Bridgehampton with my daughter, who is six. We were lying there, listening to the surf, to the children playing, to the occasional drone of an airplane flying by, and we were just dozing off to sleep. In this semi-conscious state, my daughter and I engaged in the following conversation. I felt it was worth recording.

“Daddy? When a crab bites you, does it hurt?”

“Crabs don’t bite.”

“I mean AFTER they bile.”

“AFTER they bite?”

“When they bite you on the leg, when you make it better.”

“Huh?”

“You put something on it. You know, that stuff? Does it hurt?”

“No, it doesn’t hurt.”

“Why do crabs bite?”

“Crabs don’t bite. Go to sleep.”

“Yes, they do. You just said you put that stuff on it and it doesn’t hurt.”

“Well, it doesn’t.”

“Do you put a Band-Aid on it?”

“Yes. You put the stuff on it, and then you put a Band-Aid on it. It doesn’t hurt.”

“Yes, it does.”

“Look, Crabs don’t bite.”

“Did a crab ever bite you?”

“No.”

“Are there any crabs around here. On this beach?”

“Well, yes, I suppose so. You see them around. But they don’t bite.”

“Yes, they do.”

“Look, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.”

“Daddy?”

“What?”

“You know how I know that crabs bite?

“How?”

“Because if they didn’t bite you, there wouldn’t be crabs.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. FISH don’t bite and yet there are fish.”

“Yeah, but fish aren’t SUPPOSED to bite you. You EAT fish.”

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