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March 11th, 2010

Overdue Apologies (Part VIII)

Dear Pinchy and Grabby-

I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart (the very bottom, where all the bacon grease and deep emotion is) for the direction your lives took after we met.

My sophomore roommate, Rita, and I were walking through the Glendale Galleria one afternoon, when we passed a kiosk selling hermit crabs. 15 minutes later, we were driving back to school with two new crustacean pals, instructions, a plastic terrarium, food, a water dish and a half a hollowed out coconut shell with a doorway cut into it which read “COCO HUT.” Everything we needed to keep you fellows alive and happy.

Alive, yes. Happy… I doubt it.

Fast forward several weeks. Midterms, research papers, presentations, parties, weekends away- all of this and more kept Rita and I from really caring for you the way we should have. One morning I came in from having breakfast and Rita was just waking up. “Oh, shit,” she said, looking around. “What?” I asked, alarmed.

“Pinchy and Grabby! I took them out to play with last night and then I fell asleep. Where are they?”

When I have a pang of guilt, the receptors on my tongue that respond to sour tastes start to burn. As Rita and I frantically rifled through our terribly messy room, my sour taste buds felt like they were on fire. The images of hermit crabs crushed between copies of “Reading About Art History” and “Psychological Principals, Third Edition” that flashed through my head were only interrupted by fleeting thoughts of the two of you poor creatures huddled under a desk, doing the arthropod equivalent of weeping.

We found you in a dirty t-shirt that hadn’t made it to the hamper.

Your lives only got worse from there. I was almost never in the room, and Rita was also very busy. After a week of not even THINKING about you, I peered into your terrarium to see this:

Please notice the empty shells. We’d placed them there hoping you’d switch homes once you got larger. It didn’t happen. Probably because you were so under-hydrated your exoskeleton couldn’t even begin to think about molting. I mean LOOK AT YOUR FREAKING WATER DISH. Poor Pinchy, just sitting in there, hoping for rain. And Grabby, you’d obviously retired to the COCO HUT to wait for the sweet release of death.

Oh god, there go my taste buds again.

After school was out for the year, David was kind enough to take you both into his home, where he had a much larger terrarium available. But you just sort of lay there in your new digs and didn’t do much of anything. David was convinced you were depressed. One day, he excitedly told me “Look! I cleaned their house, and gave them new sand and food and fresh water! They’ll be much happier now.”

“They’re arthropods,” I snapped. “They don’t have emotions. They have ganglia.”

David, to this day, teases me about this answer. But the truth is, I needed to be very forceful with that concept (whether or not it’s true) in order to convince myself that the last, very dry year you’d spent in my dorm room hadn’t really been as cruel as I knew it had.

Finally, when the guilt became too much even for David to deal with on a daily basis, I packed you up and donated you to my local nursery school. The idea was that the kids would love you and watch you grow and fight and play and eat and all the other things I never saw you do one time ever.

But, in reality, I’m sure you were picked up, drawn on with a purple magic marker, and then forgotten about.

Pinchy. Grabby. I am so, so sorry. I hope that, wherever you are, you realize that my intentions for you were honestly good.

I just wasn’t ready to be a mother.

2 comments to Overdue Apologies (Part VIII)

  • Lyn

    We oce kept a hamster for the stepdaughters that we would forget about. One weekend they came to stay and were horrifed that the hamster had disappeared. We had no idea. Since we also had a cat there was much weeping and wailing over the apparent demise of the rodent. Several weeks later we caught the little thing crossing the hall from the laundry room to the girls’ bedroom. We put him back in his cage where he promptly began up chucking a foul looking mass of red that looked to be his insides. I was horrified and hollered for the man of the house. He came. He looked. He laughed. Skippy the nerdy rodent was emptying cat food from his cheeks. He had been living the self sufficient high life right under our noses. I wasn’t ready to be a mother either. Its a wonder the girls survived.

  • Bix


    Mark is begging for you to play in the pit this year. The crab thing is digusting… well done.

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