Setting Free the Crabs

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I bumped into my neighbor downstairs a little while ago. Literally bumped into him. He gave me a look that you give a guy who talks to his underpants in public. The scowl itself took minutes off my life. Had I had the lexicon at hand, I’d have explained that I was in a daze, had been for some days now. You see, a friend of mine has explained that YouTube is in financial trouble.

Now, a massive faceless organization’s money woes usually bring me a wee chuckle. That is, until I figure out how it might adversely affect me.

In this case, if YouTube dies off, all of my entertainment options will be shut off after drinking alcohol. For when I do put away a few and then wander home and then find that I have another two cold ones in the fridge, there’s nothing better than YouTube as a chaser.

Why? Because you can watch anything you want. Long gone are the days when you had a few drinks or just found yourself at a loose end and then had to be entertained based on the whims of a table full of TV executives. Could the youth of today even survive that world? When your late night choices are Major League and Congo? No. What about a world in which one’s only hope of seeing nudity on a screen was in late night movies where you had to watch a bad movie and were occasionally rewarded with a glimpse of breast or butt? No.

I didn’t explain this to my neighbor because he doesn’t seem to like me very much. Well, he doesn’t like me well enough to sit through my painfully low-level description of the above paragraph. So I let it go.

But the death of YouTube would remove so many little visual joys. Highlights from the 2008 World Series, any Phillies’ no-hitter, the Miracle at the Meadowlands (number 2). And then there are the movie clips: Hoosiers, The Natural, Saving Private Ryan, Annie.

And then there are the videos of people doing niceties for others. It used to be people doing nice things for other people, like giving them shoes or giving them a lot of money and then some shoes. Then people realized how much others suck and they moved onto animals. The most recent trend of self-videoed do-goodery is people removing animals from humanmade accidental entrapments. Men cutting loose a seal from a fishing net, a man freeing a goose from a plastic 6-pack container. A woman cutting loose her idiot husband from his Barcalounger. And I love it, because what goon doesn’t like to see an innocent animal immediately removed from a death trap? Not this one.

Well, usually.

I was down the shore a few weeks ago and noticed a group of young people standing above something on the beach. Everyone was terribly consternated about the proceedings and I wondered if I might be about to witness the shipment of a dolphin back to the ocean. Maybe a shark! Oh, the irony in our minds that we would do a good for this thing most of us fear. I approached the young people and looked into the sand at their feet. Standing beneath everyone, looking back up at them with what was clearly a look of alarm, was a crab. Surely this crab was wondering just what it was these people needed. Perhaps he was a do-good crab and was wondering if they needed some help with something.

He was no doubt alarmed when the young people began grabbing at him and trying to pick him up. The young people developed a pattern: reach down, grab, wince, retract hand in pain, try again, repeat. See, crabs are gifted by little sharp hand pincers and they probably don’t like it when people crowd them and then poke and prod at them. I was going to suggest that perhaps the crab understood how the ocean worked as it had been navigating it for about 500 million years. But I decided instead to stay out of internet videos.

In any event, that would just go on YouTube and, as we know, that might not exist in a while. This too I decided to keep away from my neighbor. A man who, it must be said, would probably help me into the ocean.

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