Good Luck, Reggie

 One of the perks that comes with living in Maine is this
and these

Since no one else in the family really likes to eat lobster, Joe and I planned to have a special dinner together. We waited all week for ‘Lobstah’ night!

As is usually the case when we have lobster, the kids crowd around the sink and touch the lobsters’ hard shells, they pick them up and bestow them with love and kisses. They eventually name them.

Last night’s lobsters were dubbed Bob and Reggie. You can tell them apart by their rubber bands. Reggie is the dapper looking lobster in the background wearing mismatched rubber bands on his claws.

A few years ago Grandma, who loves lobster like a junkie loves a rock of crack, was visiting and bought Joe his very own lobster. He lovingly guarded the pile of crustaceans that crawled around in the sink waiting for immenent death. He made friends with one particular lobster and named him “Angel”.
My mother and I walked into the kitchen to find him lovingly stroking Angel’s shell and saying, “Don’t worry my Angel…it’s okay.” His hushed voice and far away gaze oddly resembled a scene from Silence of the Lambs.
Perhaps I was overeacting a bit, but I momentarily envisioned future-Joe and Buffalo Bill dancing before his mirror came to mind. “Shhhh…Don’t worry my Angel….”
A half an hour later, Joe ate Angel. With a horrifying lack of empathy, he watched Grandma, a/k/a Lobster Killer, plunge his Angel head first into the pot of boiling water. I chalked his indifference up to normal 4-year-old cluelessness, crossed my fingers that he wasn’t a sociopath and hoped for the best.
Fast forward a couple of years and thankfully, his preschool preoccupation with death and understanding of where food comes from have evolved slightly.
Last night he formed a bond with Reggie. I surmise that when I snapped this shot, he was beginning to question his ability to eat his new friend. Notice the semi-crazed look in his eyes. He’s forcing a smile. He’s not happy that ol’ Reg is about to be boiled, but hasn’t said anything yet.
Bob was already in the hotseat when Joe began questioning how much longer until Reggie was going to be cooked. The timer began beeping and Bob, who was wearing a lovely new shade of red, was placed on a platter.
Okay Joe, it’s Reggie’s turn…  Joe? Are you crying?
head nod
What’s wrong, buddy? Are you upset about cooking Reggie?
gulp. head nod. I don’t think I can.
If nothing else, I understand how difficult it is to eat your own pet. (click here to find out exactly why I am so ‘disturbed’.)

 Would you like to drive Reggie back to the ocean and set him free?


Get your coat! Hey, Daddy!!! We have to go for a while…we’re driving Reggie back to the ocean!

We put Reggie back in his white grocery bag and hurried to the car. Joe brought his plate of broccoli, refusing the chicken that everyone else was eating.

Mind you, the ocean is exactly 8.2 miles from our house, otherwise I might have told Joe to suck it up and eat the damn $12 lobster. We rushed to the beach with Reggie on Joe’s lap. We weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper or play the radio because “it might disturb Reggie. He’s not used to our kind of noise.”

We pulled into a surprisingly full parking lot at the beach for 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday in March. Then I remembered that it was the night of the Super Moon. Great. We would have an audience for our lobster release.

Like a man on a mission, Joe walked quickly and carefully, holding Reggie’s white paper bag before him. We pondered the best method of release and it was decided that we should “carefully throw” Reggie as far as we could so that the waves wouldn’t carry him back to the beach.

At the water’s edge, we opened the sack and poured a very limp Reggie onto the sand. I quickly removed his mismatched rubber bands, but Reggie didn’t make any move to pinch me. I dunked him into the water, hoping to revive him a bit and saw some slight movement.

Good luck, Reggie!

As gently as I could manage, I tossed Reggie into the Atlantic ocean. He was pretty floppy, but I didn’t say so. I just turned and looked at Joe who smiled then ran and threw his arms around me.

You did it Joe! You saved Reggie.

No. We did it, Mom.

Freezing, we ran back up the beach to the warmth of the car and hopped in. Joe laughed about the sand in his shoes and marveled at the boarded up snack shack as we pulled out of the parking lot.

You know…I bet Bob was a real jerk to the other lobsters. That’s why it was okay to cook him.

Hmm…Hey, when we get home do you want to eat some of the chicken I cooked?

No thanks, I’ll just have some chicken nuggets… I can’t tell what kind of animal those come from. I’ve decided that I want to be a vegeterarianan.

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