Monday, October 31, 2011

Consider Halloween, Love Luco

Probably I at one point did something horrible enough to warrant this lobster costume. I do not know what though. I have been trying to remember this entire day. What did I do?

I made fun of Fremlin for not being able to jump up onto the bed, but she cannot jump up onto the bed; it is not as though I made up a cruel or false rumor about her - I simply noted her behavior and faithfully reported it to everyone else in the prison.

I told Mingus that he was a jerk, but this was because after being shut up in the guest room with him (the prison guard now refers to it as the "Cat Room" with much derision) I realized that he is pretty much a jerk.

The dog I treated like I have always treated the dog, which I will admit is not perhaps as nice or patient or as thoughtful as one creature could treat another, but really? He is a dog. I do not believe there is a living being that would not enjoy taunting him at least every now and then.

A lobster suit, if you have never had the pleasure, is not very comfortable - the fabric is a "soft" felt, but feels more like an "itchy" felt: it is an itchy, uncomfortable, hot, and heavy felt. Basically a lobster suit is sub par. Perhaps sub, sub par. Sub, sub, sub?

I must admit there is something I love about this holiday, however. There can be found joy in taking on another's identity, if, that is, the other's identity is not a lobster.

Yes, I will go ahead and address this now; I have read David Foster Wallace's "Consider the Lobster." Honestly I believe all that lives experiences pain (rotting branches the source of countless nightmares) - all that lives is at a fundamental level (perhaps I should say cellular?) of the same stuff. We are equals, you and me and the dog and the pathetic lobster. Allow me to bring in my favorite moment from his essay (you can read the entire essay here: 

In any event, at the [Maine Lobster] Festival, standing by the bubbling tanks outside the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker, watching the fresh-caught lobsters pile over one another, wave their hobbled claws impotently, huddle in the rear corners, or scrabble frantically back from the glass as you approach, it is difficult not to sense that they’re unhappy, or frightened, even if it’s some rudimentary version of these feelings …and, again, why does rudimentariness even enter into it? Why is a primitive, inarticulate form of suffering less urgent or uncomfortable for the person who’s helping to inflict it by paying for the food it results in? I’m not trying to give you a PETA-like screed here—at least I don’t think so. I’m trying, rather, to work out and articulate some of the troubling questions that arise amid all the laughter and saltation and community pride of the Maine Lobster Festival. The truth is that if you, the Festival attendee, permit yourself to think that lobsters can suffer and would rather not, the MLF can begin to take on aspects of something like a Roman circus or medieval torture-fest.
Does that comparison seem a bit much? If so, exactly why? Or what about this one: Is it not possible that future generations will regard our own present agribusiness and eating practices in much the same way we now view Nero’s entertainments or Aztec sacrifices? My own immediate reaction is that such a comparison is hysterical, extreme—and yet the reason it seems extreme to me appears to be that I believe animals are less morally important than human beings;20 and when it comes to defending such a belief, even to myself, I have to acknowledge that (a) I have an obvious selfish interest in this belief, since I like to eat certain kinds of animals and want to be able to keep doing it, and (b) I have not succeeded in working out any sort of personal ethical system in which the belief is truly defensible instead of just selfishly convenient.
20 Meaning a lot less important, apparently, since the moral comparison here is not the value of one human’s life vs. the value of one animal’s life, but rather the value of one animal’s life vs. the value of one human’s taste for a particular kind of protein. Even the most diehard carniphile will acknowledge that it’s possible to live and eat well without consuming animals.

That he treats the subject of lobsters with such depth of thought is not enough to make me want to dress up as one. Although he makes some good points. 

I wish I was a nobler cat who could understand the value of a lobster suit, of its itchiness and its connection to my underwater brethren. 

But why did the prison guard pick this costume? This sea-roach as they are oft referred to? Since I cannot think of a truly horrible offense I have committed (unless it was unknowing), I must come to the conclusion that she is a sadist. Simple.

I believe her actions must to be part of a series of humiliations which will end in what, I do not know. First she locked me in this house, never to let me out. Then she got the other cats. Then the dog. Then the dog was allowed Outside. And now she dresses me as a lobster. Oh, shame! How unending and how I blister at its touch.

And yet I pity the lobster I also despise (and only despise today! And only because I am forced into this clown's costume). Who looks at a lobster and thinks it (her? Him?) beautiful except as something that is beautiful-to-eat. 

Who could love a lobster but to consume her?

And everywhere they are locked in glass prisons, claws pinched tight together, sad little bead eyes. 

I am the lobster.

The lobster me.


  1. Luco, sadder still, it was meant for the dog.

  2. How kind of you to even wear it. My cats tore their costumes apart the second my back was turned.

  3. Ha-ha, poor lil humiliated lobster!