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SHANE BROWN: It's 2020, expect 'The Crabbening'
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SHANE BROWN: It's 2020, expect 'The Crabbening'

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Shane Brown, classified advertising and columnist.

Nothing surprises me in 2020.

We've spent the past umpteen months skipping from one horror show to the next, whether it's pandemics or derechos or murder hornets or fires or a presidential election that may never end. I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to get jaded by horrible news.

I literally saw a headline the other day that an asteroid is going to come hurling precariously close to Earth next week but is "highly unlikely" to hit us. In 2020, I don't put much stock in "highly unlikely." But honestly, I didn't even bother reading the article. There's not much I can do in the event of an asteroid strike except hide in my basement, count my blessings, and play video games until I run out of air, power, or patience. I'll just be super mad if we put up with all this campaigning only to have the world end on the eve of Election Day.

The other day, President Trump sent out a tweet that just said "GIANT RED WAVE COMING!" In THIS year, I honestly didn't know if he was predicting a Republican win or warning that the Gulf Coast was about to be decimated by a blood tsumani. Don't put anything past 2020.

That's why I was only moderately surprised this week to stumble across an article with a headline that, in any other year, would raise a few red flags. In 2020, it was just another Tuesday:


Well, of course it is. In the grand scheme of 2020, evolving into crab-monsters seems perfectly on brand.

This was a news story I couldn't resist diving into.

According to a study published by the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (who are undoubtedly the life of any party whenever the DJ throws on "Rock Lobster,") I quote: "Although enormous morphological disparity is observed in the internal anatomy of the crab-like taxa, reflecting the fact that the evolution of the crab-like habits was indeed convergent, various corresponding dependences are found across the different lineages between the external characters of a crab-like habitus/morphotype and inner structures."

Okay, I have no idea what that means.

But the basic gist is that they've discovered at least five different species of non-crab-like crustaceans that have evolved crab-like features in order to survive our changing world. Clearly, evolution likes the cut of a crab's jib — and there could be a future where our children's children's children's children might one day be born with pincers, antennae, and a bad attitude. Slowly but surely, we may all be turning into crabs. Science even has a term for it: carcinization, or as I like to call it, "The Crabbening."

One of the major arguments I always hear on climate change is that we don't want to destroy the world for future generations. But if those future generations will likely end up being crab monsters, should we really care? I'm not saying we should start chucking plastic willy-nilly out our car windows, but I'm not quite as motivated to recycle for the sole benefit of my future great-great-great-grandcrab.

The more I think about it, though, there could be some definitive advantages to turning into a crab monster.

  • Pincers would be great (except maybe at the urinal.) Just the other day, I wasted eight full minutes of my life trying to open a hermetically-sealed packet of Parmesan cheese. Don't be fooled by the tragic story of Edward Scissorhands -- pincers would be handy. Imagine a future world where you no longer have to shush someone in a crowded theater. I think your point would be made more effectively and efficiently if you could just reach over and snip their arm off.
  • And if you're the unfortunate talkative theater-goer who gets their arm snipped off? No worries, it'll grow right back. Crabs lose appendages like I lose my car keys, and they just grow new arms and legs to replace them.
  • Speaking of arms and legs, you'd have four pair of them. That's a plus. First off, drum solos would be at least twice as epic. Jugglers would actually hold my attention. We would all make amazing goalies. I could go to a ballgame and do The Wave entirely by myself. I could vogue WAY better than Madonna.
  • We would not have teeth in our mouths, but we WOULD have teeth in our stomachs. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but I'd kinda like to experience it for a quick minute or two.

Of course, like all evolutionary advancements, there might also be some hiccups.

  • You could potentially bear 100,000 children. On the plus side, though, you wouldn't have to raise them. Just drop some eggs in the water and hope for the best. That should alleviate the burden of child care expense considerably.
  • At least once a year, your skeleton would fall off. I'm not sure I like this idea, and I'm not quite sure how long you'd have to crawl around as a pile of goo waiting for your new skeleton to harden. But it would definitely offer a new and novel excuse for calling in sick to work. "Sorry, boss, can't come in. I'm molting."
  • We would all taste delightful with lemon juice and some creme fraiche. That's troubling.

For now, I guess I'm content with my boring human body, my mere two arms, and my lousy interior skeleton. If we're all turning into crabs, it probably won't happen overnight. But please, everyone, knock on wood -- let's not give 2020 any ideas.

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