June 9, 2006

I Peench

Late last night, I was staring blankly at the television, just putting the old brain into a peaceful alpha wave state, Scott ALMOST asleep beside me, when a commercial I really like came on. There have been some commercials recently that seem better that the SHOWS I am watching----Mac and PC, I still have big love for Mac and PC, but my favorite commercial is the the one where the Honda Element meets the crab on the beach, and the crab tells the Element, "I pinch." Here is the long version.

Well what came on last night was an edited version, with no tongs, no backwards walking away. It's just the Element, telling the crab all the things he can do, how he takes the surfers around, and they change inside him, and he can carry their boards, and how whatever his kind of flooring is, you can get the sand out easily... No matter what he says, the crab says, "I pinch."

I don't want to say I had an epiphany. That may be overstating. Let's just say that I was Gobsmacked by Truthiness. I AM THAT CRAB! I AM THAT CRAB AND THAT CRAB IS ME! I PINCH!

Of course I had to wake Scott up immediately and tell him. He was less than pleased.

Me: I am the crab who pinches, that's me, that's me!
Him: *Mumbles* You are the crab who needs lithium.
Me: I PINCH! *pinching*
Him: AH! *wakes up* I WAS the crab who was sleeping.
Me: NO, YOU ARE THE HONDA ELEMENT!
Him: ....Okay.
Me: Because the Honda Element does all this STUFF, see, thing after thing after thing. The Honda Element can do ANYTHING.
Him: Well then. We should get a Honda Element.
Me: NO! THAT IS SO NOT THE POINT!
Him: I think HONDA would say that was the point.
Me: Well, then, I want an orange one. But SCOTT, the key thing here we are realizing together is that YOU ARE THE ELEMENT WHO DOES EVERYTHING AND I AM THE CRAB. I PINCH.

It is true! I AM the crab. I DO pinch. And that's ALL I do. I am a one thing person.

Scott can do ANYTHING. I don't just say this because I'm head over toes for the boy, I say it because HE CAN. He can learn how to do ANYTHING he sets his mind to, and learn to do it competently to boot. He's never going to go to the Olympics for any ONE thing, but he is Jack of any trade he chooses. Now me, I am basically incompetent at every area of life---I get so focused on the one thing I CAN do that whole MONTHS pass without me looking up, I am in constant danger of wandering into traffic, I trip over dust motes, I cannot find the vacuum or my own underpants and I have no sense of time or decorum, I live 90% of my life in my head, telling myself stories and trying hard to find the exact right words to tell them to other people...That's pretty much my day, and it is so like the day before it and the one after that I can't tell them apart.

I LOVE my days, don't get me wrong, life is sugar on my tongue most times, and I have seen people on TV who literally can't do ANYTHING, not ONE thing, so they have to go on Big Brother or The Bachelor instead of getting on Project Runway, or, you know, having a job. I should be GRATEFUL, both that I have this one thing I can do, and that I coincidentally I LOVE to do it.

But. Come the revolution, Scott is going to be a lot more useful to have around. Scott will have the electricity back up and running and will have organized a squad to check our stores of vital medicines and weaponry while I am still walking thoughtlessly around, banging into walls and wondering if any useful Scottlike person is going to get a printing press running any time soon, and that and eating up all the dark chocolate cherries will be my contribution right up until the time I go trit-trotting haplessly into a minefield and explode myself.

Me, I am not terribly useful.

SO. My new theory is...there are two kinds of people in this world, crabs and Elements. I'm a crab. Scott is an Element. I think Elements are better. I can't see a case for Crabs, although maybe that is just my natural and balancing self-loathing, which we all agree is a wonderful thing for me to have, lest I become thoroughly unendurable. Remember the sock puppet? Yeah. So.

Scott of course, defends me and my fellow crabs by extension anyway, and says that most crabs want to be Elements because they ARE crabs, like curly haired girls want straight hair, while straight haired girls get perms.

Today in comments I am taking a crab v/s Element poll.
Which are you?
If Crab, what is your skill? (Example: I pinch)
Which would you rather be?
Why?

Posted by joshilyn at June 9, 2006 8:08 AM
Comments

I'll get to the poll in a minute, pinkie-swear, but first:

Here is the case for Crabs, IMO - without Crabs there would be no art, no music, no books, or at least not as many and not as good. Also there wouldn't be innovations in science or in building design or in medicine.

The really great stuff is almost always created by people who are obsessed - who can't NOT do whatever it is they do. Like you can't NOT write. Even before you had a publisher or people buying your books, you were still telling stories in your head and writing them down to get them out of there and make room for more, because you're a Crab - you have to! Great painters can't NOT paint. Great engineers can't NOT try to figure out how things work and how they might work better.

SO...I, for one, am really glad there are Crabs. I will, in fact, admit to a touch of Crab Envy. I would love to be passionately great at something. I, however, am an Element. (See, told you I'd get back to the poll eventually.)

I try anything that interests me and I can do many, many things - adequately. Competently, even. But I will probably never be GREAT at any of them because I never focus on any one thing long enough or intensely enough to get great at it.

I'm not saying I'd rather be a Crab, exactly. I am who I am and I like me. But there's a little part of me that would love to be overwhelmingly good at something instead of adequate at lots of things. Unless the revolution comes. Then I will be happy that I'm an Element. :-)

(Wow, that got long...sorry!)

Posted by: DebR at June 9, 2006 10:07 AM

I am a crab. With a morbid fear of tongs and butter.

And of course I have to wander around whining about "yeah, I pinched. Once. Kinda. But now I am supposed to pinch again, and I bet it will be really crappy pinching this time, and then they will just get out the tongs and butter, my publishers...."

And I married an Element.

YOU ARE SO FUNNY!!!!

Posted by: Cornelia Read at June 9, 2006 10:38 AM

I think I may ruin your theory because I'm both a Crab and an Element, in different aspects of my life. When it comes to work type stuff, all I seem to be able to do is write. That's what my day job career involved, and I loathed it because it wasn't the right kind of writing. I have to make this book thing work out because otherwise I can't figure out how to earn enough money to not end up living in a cardboard box under a bridge.

But I tend to be able to pick up random, not-entirely marketable skills away from work (or else pick them up at a level where I couldn't be able to make money with them). I repaired a toilet yesterday, for instance. I can cook. I can sew and knit. I know how to hang vinyl siding on the exterior of a house (thanks to Habitat for Humanity). I've done interior house painting. I have a full set of tools and know how to use them. Some of that may just be single girl survival skills, but in general, I'm a relatively useful person to have around, especially if you need someone to take something apart. You might, however, need another useful person to put things back together.

Posted by: Shanna Swendson at June 9, 2006 10:51 AM

OH! I am SO a crab, also married to an Element. My skill appears to be getting really spectacularly and colorfully ticked off all the time and then telling people about it in ways that seem to amuse them, Lord knows why.

I think I am happy in my crabbiness. That whole Element thing looks exhausting. Pshew! I get ticked off just thinking about it.

Posted by: Badger at June 9, 2006 11:25 AM

Alas, dear Joss, I am neither crab nor Element. I am one of those Japanese fighting fish...You know, the ones that try to get into brawls with their own reflections? That's me.

Posted by: Angela at June 9, 2006 11:51 AM

I'm a crab.
I flirt.

Flirting with my Element makes him forget how useless I am while he's toiling away.

Posted by: Dianna at June 9, 2006 11:51 AM

Sorry, DebR -- Leonardo, for one, was an Element. Shakespeare, too. Mozart. (Bach may have been a really big Crab...)

Me, I'm a crab-sized Element. I can tell you what they did with the sets off of Gone With the Wind, what Emerson's first wife died of (and that he opened her coffin and LOOKED 18 months later -- bad period of time) and the Burley Grimes was the last pitcher to throw a legal spitball. It's just that an item has to be useless to stick, a tiny little bit of sparkly nonsense. (Oh, lawsey -- maybe I'm not either, but that loathsome Sparklefish, or whatever his vile name is. Well, forget it -- I'm not giving up one single scale, and I'm uprooting the giving tree and getting that Guess How Much woman into therapy while I'm at it...)

I'm a Crab. "I digress"

Posted by: rams at June 9, 2006 11:54 AM

I am with Shanna, I am a bit of both, but maybe in reverse. I am a bit of an crab that that devolves into an Element. I can do many things (as long as snakes are not involved) but some things will that I do well with a wonderful voice, gets muddled by the voices of other arts.

My metered rhyming voice has been muddied by my angry, assymetrical prose voice - and now I am in limbo, but I can roof your house, hang and mud your drywall, and lay your flooring. Then I'll order take out because I'm too tired to cook the scampi I had planned. I need to learn moderation.

Posted by: Cele at June 9, 2006 12:08 PM

I have a case of crabs. Does that count? Just kidding. I am a crab who has not found the one thing I do well. So I pretty much do nothing.

Posted by: Steph at June 9, 2006 12:37 PM

I'm an Element. There's no one thing I'm really great at but I do lots of things reasonably well. And as my name suggests, I'll try anything, can't stand to miss anything, and enjoy finding out about everything. I do wish, sometimes, that there was just one pinchy thing I could do. Pinchers ROCK! ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at June 9, 2006 12:42 PM

The Renaissance Woman is, naturally, an Element; hence her name.

I'm a crab. I procrastinate.

Actually, I'm a crab, I compulsively recommend children's books. But that didn't sound as good. And when I'm not doing that, I'm procrastinating, always avoiding whatever I'm supposed to be doing by noodling at something else that my mind's not really on. Hence *my* name. (And hence this mid-workday sneak comment session.)

Posted by: elswhere at June 9, 2006 2:27 PM

I love this analogy. And Debr saved me boatloads of time because I can just add - "Yeah. What she said." Deb and I are often twins, one who collects shoes, the other collects children. But spookily alike in many ways. And I, alas, am an Element. I often have described myself as a "Jill of all Trades" - good at anything I set my mind to learning, but with the stick-to-it-ness of a teflon pan. I do have my crablike moments, but a moment, whether it's a moment long moment or a decade long moment, sometimes isn't long enough to actually accomplish something. I've gotten away with blaming my environment and circumstances for the last almost 50 years, but I know a true crab would let nothing stand in their way. Sigh.

I'm married to a crab though and it alternately endears and infuriates me. He's good at basically two things, absorbing information in order to think about it obsessively AND loving his family. Well, and he's good at watering the lawn too. The loving his family bit comes in extremely handy. The thinking part, and it's not even thinking that can be understood by anyone else on the planet, is less useful.

Posted by: Laume at June 9, 2006 3:12 PM

I'm an Element with Crab tendencies. I've always got to have like four big things going at a time - I just posted about this. Otherwise I feel like I get nothing done.

However, it's all the same sort of thing: writing. So maybe I'm a crab with extra claws or something. But I'm writing about stuff, much of which I've done or I'm doing.

I'm confused now. Maybe I'm just a crabby Element.

Posted by: Autumn at June 9, 2006 4:27 PM

Note: I did marry a Crab. He drives me insane. But what he does? He does superbly.

Posted by: Autumn at June 9, 2006 4:28 PM

Alas, I am an element who desperately longs to be a crab. Oh sure, having fifty million ideas flying through my head at any given moment gives me an infinite number of story-starters, but I can't sit my butt down long enough to work them all out.

Now, my husband, he's another element. Yep, two elements, like two oldest children getting married makes for quite a bit of head-butting as we run around competing to see who can do more of what. We all have our limits, though. He does all the house maintenance, remembers song titles and artists that I forgot days after I'd heard of them, and has a killer vocabulary for which I would consider selling my firstborn for. I said consider . . . calm down everyone. I can't hammer a nail to save my life, but I can teach him everything there is to know about football, cooking, organization, and even chimpanzee behavior. That's why I'm an element with several college degrees and no career from any of them.

Because I'm an element, I write. I have to get the flying thoughts out somehow. So I write and write and write until they're all gone. But they're still there so I'm still writing. Does that make me a crab now?

Posted by: MichelleH at June 9, 2006 8:10 PM

hahaha! What a great post! And I love all the answers. I'm an Element, married to an Element, but we are Elements in TOTALLY DIFFERENT ways, so it works.

Posted by: lizardek at June 10, 2006 3:26 AM

Ack. I'm a crab with only one claw, meaning I'm not even all that good at pinching.

Totally depressed now. But inspired for my next personal ad. "Disabled crab seeking Element! Color unimportant!"

Posted by: Mir at June 10, 2006 9:54 AM

I'm an element, although my husband would say a crab. I think he may be referring to some other tendancies of mine. Hey, the world needs crabs and elements so don't fret, you are just part of the big picture.

Posted by: Peek at June 10, 2006 10:26 AM

Had to check back to see what everyone else is saying and, rams, I have to disagree with you. Well, ok, not about Leonardo. He was the rare exception - an ElementCrab mutant. But I disagree about Shakespeare and Mozart. I consider both of them to have been UberCrabs, not Elements. Unless there's something about them I don't know, which is entirely possible! But the only thing I know of Shakespeare being famous for is writing. Lots of different types of writing, sure, but AFAIK he didn't also paint portraits, or build bridges, or figure out how to turn moldy bread into penicillin or anything. Ergo, Crab! Ditto Mozart and music. So I stand by my "Crabs are the Innovators" theory of evolution. :-)

Posted by: DebR at June 10, 2006 10:57 AM

I am an Element with crab envy and my husband is a crab in denial! It keeps things interesting and isn't that what makes life fun.

Posted by: Allie at June 11, 2006 12:29 PM

Is there such a thing as an Elemental Crab? Like, having the essence of crabbiness, but not the actual Crab Talents? The Crab mindset (and disposition), with the scattered focus of an Element. Or, perhaps the Elemental mindset with the Crab lack of handiness. One of those. That's me. I can't be a REAL crab, because I don't have an "I pinch" phrase, since I don't have a signature action. But I can't be a REAL Element because, while I can do a few things just well enough to get by in life, I am definitely NOT going to be handy after the revolution. Unless there is an inexplicable craving amongst the population to know useless tidbits of information along the lines of "Three-toed sloths only defecate when it's raining", or "Confectioner's sugar is called that because it has corn starch added to it as a thickening agent", or "You can use a piece of chewing gum as a temporary patch in your life raft, if the hole is small enough."
Since of course Scott will have the Internet and Google up and running after a couple of days already, my useless trivia talents are bound to be as obsolete after the revolution as they are right now. Which in the scheme of things makes me a crabby Element with flat tires and a leaky roof.
Which makes it very lucky that my own Element man is just not crabby enough to recognize that useless trivia is not the same as REAL knowledge, and thus he mistakes me for "smart", at least enough to put up with all the rest of it while he toils on his merry Elementally fixing things way. Yay for Elements that are too busy to notice the lackluster pinchiness!

Posted by: hiai at June 11, 2006 1:08 PM

I am such a Crab. In more ways than one. But the one thing I do pretty well is the one thing that I love doing (besides being a Mom and Wife). I write.
I am married to The Element. He does everything well. I mean EVERYthing. I love it. I don't have Element envy, and he doesn't have Crab envy, because we complement each other pretty well.
We like it like this.

Posted by: dee at June 11, 2006 7:21 PM

I'm an Element who has taken to deadpanning "I pinch" whilst actually pinching my husband on a daily basis. So glad to know someone else has taken to doing this :-D

Posted by: Kristy at June 13, 2006 1:37 PM