Monday, May 6, 2013


Photo by: Rex Sorgatz
While shopping at the supermarket, I passed the seafood counter and noticed a dead lobster in the lobster tank. As a creative writing professor, I knew I could not let this opportunity pass. I asked the attendant if she would donate the dead lobster to a good cause.

“You want a dead lobster?” she repeated.

“Well, you see, I’m a teacher, and this dead lobster will make the perfect MUSE for my students,” I told her.

“Let me call my manager,” she said.

Eavesdropping on her conversation, I heard her say to the manager, “Sir, I have a very strange request from a man who claims to be a teacher. He wants us to donate a dead lobster for a class project.”

The conversation lasted two or three minutes. When the attendant hung up the phone, she walked back over to the counter.

“You can have the dead lobster,” she said. “But you must write and sign a note stating that if anyone eats this dead lobster you will take full responsibility.”

“Deal!” I said, a little too excited, probably. 

While I wrote and signed the “contract”, the attendant fished the dead lobster from the tank.  We traded lobster for contract, and I thanked her dearly.

JEEPERS CREEPERS, I had found another MUSE!

When I returned from the supermarket, I placed the dead lobster in a Ziploc and packed him in the deep-freeze. It was time for me to research lobsters. Here is what I found:

The lobsters we find in the supermarket or at restaurants are closely related to their freshwater
cousins, the crawfish. I prefer to call them crawdads. In fact, if you look at these creatures, they truly look like miniature lobsters.

Lobsters, crawfish, shrimp, and crabs are all crustaceans. Crustaceans are a group of arthropods that all have exoskeletons (hard outer shells). Humans have “skeletons”, which is the opposite. Our structural foundation is on the inside.

Crustaceans are all set apart from other arthropods because they have two-parted limbs, in most cases “claws”.

When lobsters are not hiding out in a crevice or burrow, they slowly crawl along the ocean floor looking for food. If they are spooked, they flip their abdomen (we call it their tail) back and forth to flee. Sometimes they can reach 11 mph in speed.

Like snails and spiders, lobsters have BLUE blood. This is due to the copper in their blood. Our blood is red, due to the iron.

Lobsters possess a unique ability to produce a special enzyme that repairs their DNA. Some scientists believe that lobster could live almost forever, if they were not hunted, trapped, or if they did not contract a disease.

Lobsters are omnivores, which mean they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists mainly of fish, mollusks (clams), other crustaceans, worms, and some plant life. Lobsters have been known to be cannibalistic in captivity. Do you know what that means? THEY EAT EACH OTHER! Wowsers!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest lobster ever caught was 44 pounds. This monster was caught off the shores of Nova Scotia, Canada.

The commercial lobster industry brings in over one billion dollars a year.

Take a look at this video to learn even MORE about lobsters!

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character went swimming in the ocean and was encountered by a lobster three times his/her size?

WHAT IF your main character was a lobster trapper and he/she trapped the world’s only rainbow lobster. Maybe this lobster has special powers. What are they?

WHAT IF your main character was a lobster that was trapped and lived in the lobster tank at a supermarket. How does he/she escape?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

P.S. The word of the day is “arthropod”. Here is the definition: any invertebrate in the phylum arthropoda, having a segmented body, jointed limbs, and usually a chitinous shell that undergoes moltings, including the insects, spiders, and other arachnids, crustaceans, and myriapods. 


  1. • What if the dead lobster you saw in the restaurant came back to life?
    • What if lobsters were really huge?
    • What if lobsters came in all colors?
    • What if every lobster had ninja powers?
    • What if people were like lobsters and had a thick outer shell – they wouldn’t need armor?
    • What if lobsters blood was of a different color than blue?
    • What if humans had blue blood like lobsters?
    • What if lobsters had many parts and you could assemble them like legos?
    • What if lobsters could swim at high speeds?
    • What if lobsters could also fly?
    • What if lobsters lived forever?
    • What if lobsters were really smart?

    - Amar

  2. 1) what if a lobster painted a mural?
    2) what if a lobster went to school?
    3) what if a lobster had a pet?
    4) what if a lobster was in the circus?
    5) what if a lobster learned to dance?
    6) what if lobsters wore clothes?

  3. 1.What if a lobster was your friend?
    2.What if a lobster had magical powers?
    3.What if lobsters could talk?
    4.What if lobsters could make things?
    5.What if lobsters could cook?
    6.What if lobsters were bigger?
    7.What if lobsters could fly?
    8.What if lobsters could teach?
    9.What if lobsters had soft shells?
    10.What if lobsters had red blood?
    11.What if lobsters were different colors?
    12.What if lobsters had karate skills?
    13.What if lobsters had singing talent?
    14.What if lobsters could read?
    15.What if lobsters never died?
    16.What if lobsters had different colored blood?
    17.What if lobsters could go to school?
    18.What if lobsters had a job?
    19.What if lobsters could drive?
    20.What if lobsters were the fastest sea animal?

    -Queen Puppy Lover

  4. 1~what if lobsters were purple?
    2~what if lobsters didn't have tails?
    3~what if lobsters could turn colors like some lizards?
    4~what if lobsters ruled the world?
    5~what if lobsters could talk?
    6~what if lobsters could only move left and right?
    7~what if lobsters were the only food on earth?
    8~what if lobsters went too school?
    9~what if lobsters could dance?
    10~what if lobsters were lime green?
    11~what if lobsters were very rare?
    12~what if lobsters built houses?
    13~what if lobsters didn't have a heart?
    14~what if lobsters blood was yellow?
    15~what if lobsters only ate other lobsters?
    16~what if lobsters had a wrestling matches?
    17~what if lobsters were invisible?
    18~what if lobsters had heaven?
    19~what if lobsters could only do what they see other objects do?
    20~what if lobsters could compete in the Olympics?


  5. What if a LOBSTER could chop down a tree with its claws?
    What if a gigantic LOBSTER fought KING KONG!
    What if a LOBSTER could jump-rope?
    What if a gigantic LOBSTER could jump on top of buildings?
    What if there were LOBSTER slippers?
    What if a teeny tiny LOBSTER ate you?
    What if a LOBSTER could tear metal?
    What if there was a LOBSTER the size of a four-wheel drive?
    What if there was a LOBSTER who was a PRO wrestler named CRUSHER CLAW because he had a CRUSHER CLAW?

    Park Tudor Summer Camp!