Monday, August 16, 2010

Postscript: Lament for a Lobster

We here at Half Shell have a heavy heart and a guilty conscience after learning that Rhody’s celebrity yellow lobster – whose discovery garnered headlines across the globe – died last week, having succumbed to the cruel ravages of fame and the public’s insatiable demand to be part of the phenomenon.

After too many days in the spotlight in which the lobster was repeatedly manhandled, it was sent to the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus for rest and recuperation. But apparently all of the attention had overstressed the lobster – dubbed “Tyler,” in honor of the 9-year-old New Hampshire boy whose mother took the first images of Rhody lobsterman Denny Ingram and his find that circulated around the world. Despite the best efforts of Bay Campus employees to provide him with plenty of oxygen and food, optimal water temperature and ample places to hide, Tyler’s immune system just gave out.

So it’s a sad day here at Half Shell, especially knowing that because of our incessant need for column and blog fodder, we contributed to the demise of a crustacean that never sought the limelight. While we generally espouse a life that avoids the celebrity treacle of supermarket tabloids, TV buzz and the widespread stalkerazzi mindset, we got sucked into the yellow lobster’s media glow. Most of us could care less about seeing the stars in cement along Hollywood Boulevard, but if someone wanted to brand a yellow lobster in the brick and cobblestone of Thames Street in Newport, we would make the pilgrimage to pay our respects.

Bloggers and lobsters have a lot in common. Both are bottom-feeders. The truth is, if the yellow lobster had emerged from its pot in a shell of a different color, it would have been boiled red and eaten two weeks ago. But that doesn’t absolve us from our role in killing the crustacean with curiosity. It’s too late to make it up to Tyler, but perhaps his legacy can live on. Someone with musical talent in Rhode Island could start a band called Yellow Lobster. (I’m thinking a reggae/rock/sea chantey group.) A village in need of a tourist attraction could host the Yellow Lobster Seafood Festival. The ghost of Yellow Lobster could join the living gargoyles at WaterFire Providence. Blount Seafood could mount a giant Yellow Lobster on the side of I-95 opposite the New England Pest Control’s Big Blue Bug, creating a gateway of kitsch in Rhode Island. A new dish, the Yellow Lobster Roll – lobster salad made with mustard instead of mayo – could be introduced at Hemenway’s.

What is the best way to pay tribute to the life of the yellow lobster?

[Blogster’s note: Half Shell will be taking a one-week hiatus to hunt and consume various sea creatures while avoiding presidential entourages in the waters off Vineyard Sound next week. Back Monday, Aug. 30.)