|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.
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.