Anne and Janet

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Portrait of a Hermit Crab
When I was little I would pray every night for a cat or a dog- but mostly a cat. My parents would not let me have one because of my allergies and asthma so I prayed. Hard. Every night.

I would have settled for anything but fish. A hamster, a guinea pig; something to snuggle. I would kneel and implore G-d to let me have a kitty a puppy with incredible passion.

After caring for another person's pet hermit crab my mother decided that that was something we could handle. It was kept in a box, did not shed, and did not need to be walked. So I received two hermit crabs whom I baptized- literally- Anne and Janet. The lived in a Rubbermaid storage container with a latching lid in my room.

The poor crabs. As the name "hermit crab" implies they are not the most snuggle-able of creatures. They must have been traumatized when I tried to snuggle them and dress them in Barbie clothes. Even more traumatized when I built a labyrinth of blocks for them to find their way out of (they sadly failed and retreated to their shells).

One day I had my turn being traumatized by them when one of the crabs molted. It crawled out of its shell and then crawled out of its skin, before returning to its shell. It left its skin in its Rubbermaid box and when I saw it I was crushed- assuming that the crab had died.

The crabs and I did pretty well for a while until I took them on a field trip. Being the lover of education I was, I was certain they would find a trip to the back yard an enriching experience. All was well until I lost one. Crabs are not the speediest of creatures so for one to abscond was odd. I was racked with guilt. What kind of a crab care taker was I? Poor Janet (or Anne) what would she do without her companion? Surely she would die of a broken heart. I contemplated making lost crab signs and posting them around the neighborhood- thankfully someone convinced me not to do this.

Somehow I came to have another crab. Whom I named Anne or Janet- so I once again had Anne and Janet. I went through several Anne and Janet's over the years. So I had crabs as a kid- and I loved them.


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