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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Lobsterfest in Brobdingnag

"It is overwhelming," owner Bob Wholey said. "If you see it, you will never forget it. Customers are just in awe."

Jonathan Swift, meet Bubba the Lobster. When I saw this story I knew immediately I had to get my claws into it. The tale of a 100 year old lobster that grows to three feet was a potboiler that piqued my interest. I caught the red-eye to Pittsburgh in hopes of getting an interview with this gargantuan crustacean. When I arrived at the fish market the owner, Mr. Wholey, at first looked askance at my request, but in time I was able to butter him up and get the interview with Bubba. I found Bubba a tough nut to crack, but was able to get him to open up finally.

Stew: Bubba, what is it like being a three foot long, 22 pound lobster in a world of smaller, tastier relatives?

Bubba: Well Stew, it sucks. I mean, it’s hard to find shells that fit and the other lobsters laugh at you and call you names.

Stew: What kind of names?

Bubba: Oh you know, like blobster, globster, Teddy, and waste of butter. They can be pretty tough on you sometimes.

Stew: How did you normally react to this?

Bubba: I usually pinched their heads off; I am a three foot long lobster you know.

Stew: Point well taken. Bubba, if you were a fish what kind of fish would you be?

Bubba: Well, I kind of am a fish. Not really a FISH, but close enough.

Stew: Humor me.

Bubba: Oh… a carp.

Stew: Bubba, being 100 years old you must have some very interesting stories. You lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, 18 presidents, Prohibition, and you’re older than at least four states. Give us some insight on what you remember and what most amazed you about these times.

Bubba: Well, I was undersea most of the time. I don’t really remember anything about them. It was wet and dark, and I ate a whole lot.

Stew: Bubba, I see where you were caught in Nantucket is that correct, and if so what was life like there?

Bubba: I was caught there, why someone was using a XXXL lobster trap is beyond me, but Nantucket is a lovely area. Stay away from Hyannis though, swimming in those waters always made me bleary eyed and even hungrier than normal. I probably put on twelve pounds around there alone.

Stew: You want to build a fort. It will have a square base and pyramid-shaped top, which will be perpendicular to the base of the fort. One of the sides of the base will be 6 feet in length, the height of the fort will be 6 feet with the pyramid extending 3 feet beyond this. How much material will you need to cover the entire fort, including the floor? Please measure in square feet and round up to the nearest square foot.

Bubba: 231, nice try.

Stew: Bubba, why the name Bubba? Why not go the alliterative route of say “Larry the Lobster”?

Bubba: I’m a 22 pound lobster, it was the best they could do?

Stew: How’s the nightlife of a lobster? Best tail, Maine or Rock?

Bubba: Hey, I’m 100 years old here, I haven’t had working parts for the last fifty years?

Stew: Bubba, it was nice to talk to you I hope you enjoy your remaining time as a freak show lobster?

Bubba: Just throw me in a pot of boiling water, I’m beggin’ ya!!

I think Bubba came out of his shell for a while but life and the worries of a three foot long lobster don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. I left Bubba sitting there in the tank, soaking up his thoughts, and drowned my sorrows in a gin and tonic before boarding my flight home. Bubba, I’ll never forget you in the way a man can never forget a three foot, 22 pound lobster… and dare I say, a friend.

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