Post Modernist Semantics and the Practical Lobster Farmer

Chapter 4 : The Lobster

The year is 15,000 AD. Humans have been extinct for around 3,000 years having evolved sealed mouths and so starving to death. Every public building in Britain has been converted into a Wetherspoons. An AOL CD has been inserted into every conceivable crevice in the universe. Lions have all been eaten by tigers, which have been eaten by zebras, which have been eaten by stoats, which have been eaten by rabbits, which have been eaten by gazelles, which have been eaten by Archbishop Desmond Tutu1, who was eaten by a Lion - causing the whole of the land based animal Kingdom to collapse into a singularity. It is a world where Lobsters rule everything2. The Lobster population 13,000 years from now can only be described as gargantuan3.

Back to the present. It is said that in London you are never more than six feet away from a rat4. The same cannot be said of lobsters quite yet, but it's difficult to venture out of your house without encountering such a creature, especially as they are now becoming increasingly popular as pets and like to be walked frequently. It wasn't so long ago, before lobsters evolved opposable thumbs, that we ate them in restaurants. The great thing about choosing lobster from a menu, was that you often got to choose your victim while still alive5. In any tank of lobsters, there is always one lobster that will scream at you "NO! DON'T EAT ME! I'VE TOO MUCH TO LIVE FOR!!". You should obviously choose this one, as the vocal chords are the tastiest part. Start by ripping these out, and place them on the side of your plate so it can talk to you while you devour the rest of its organs. Next you can chomp on its liver while removing the heart, kidneys, spleen, brain, colon and bowels. Mash these into a ball and toss them at the waiter. They taste foul but make a right mess. If by any chance the lobster is still alive at this point, make sure you alert the media before you put it out of its misery by lethal injection6.

Of course before you can cook and eat a lobster, you have to catch it. Lobster catching methods are as varied as they are ancient - although the most common technique was developed in the 1960s. It was well known that birds like to fly around in car parks, jumping from bonnet to bonnet. However, if a car was the wrong way round it would crash into it and die. In 1962 a French scientist named John Violeur-de-Pigeon discovered that Lobsters zoom around the sea bed with remarkably similar behaviour. It was therefore necessary just to place a few car bonnets on the sea bed, build a brick wall next to one of them, and go down once a day to collect the numerous lobsters than had crashed and died. Despite his theory being criticised on grounds of being "Complete Bollocks"7, Violeur-de-Pigeon went on to receive the Nobel Prize for his work, shortly before being killed in a pillow fight with his cat in 1974.

In the middle ages Lobsters were used as throwing weapons in times of war. The lobster would be hurled spinning towards its victim, during which the claws would fly out and form a star shape, which would then tear into the flesh of anyone in its path. It is from this that the Lobster gets its name: 'Lob' (to throw) - 'ster' (from 'star'). The most famous example of Lobsters being used in combat is the battle of Charing in 1630. Charles I attacked the treacherous village of Charing in Kent with an army of lobster hurlers, and the villagers replied by catapulting crabs and the King's men. After this the lobster became known as the 'King's Crustacean', and the crab as the 'Charing Crustacean'8.

Now of course lobsters are long since changed from the friendly useful creatures they once were. Like many things in this world, they have outgrown their natural place in it. Soon they will rise, and all of us will perish.

I hear them tapping at my door. They can hear me, they can smell me (but to be fair I've been sitting here for some time and so can most people), they can sense my presence with their extra-sensory perception. They soon break down my flimsy solid-oak door with their giant pincers and built in laser-beams and start their march towards me. I'm done for - completely surrounded by them. One starts on my toes as another heads straight for my stomach to begin the impregnation process. Others chew at my limbs, ripping flesh from my bones with gluttonous abandon. Gosh I'm doing well to still be typing. Here, come back with my liver! Ooh, the pain - the pain.

- Stephen Penney

1 - Archbishop Tutu was personally responsible for a total of seventeen paradoxes, twelve of which resulted in the complete destruction of the entire universe.

2 - Apart from the sharks - they're pretty nasty.

3 - At least, that's the way I *want* to describe it.

4 - It is also said that wherever you are on Earth you are never more than few thousand miles away from a member of Westlife, which is still far closer than you really want to be.

5 - The lobster, not you. Or 'and you', I should say. I mean, obviously you're still alive - it's not exactly a novelty to able to pick out a meal even though you're not dead, is it? You still reading this? Why?

6 - Where's this bit going?

7 - By everyone.

8 - Oh come on! Crustacean = Cross Station? That's good stuff!