CHARLOTTE, NC, January 21, 2018 – One night at dusk when the starfish were bright on the beach, a lobster named Herman met a crab called Sally, and it was love at first sight. So say the words of a clever folk song by the satirical duet known as the Smothers Brothers in the 1960s.
On one level the story of Herman and Sally is a cute little ditty that ends sadly, but since the story is more in fun than serious, the surprise finish evokes laughter rather than tears.
But there is a second aspect to the story, which, in its own way has a deeper meaning relating to the differences among people.
The Yin Yang of relationships
As the story progresses, Herman excitedly tells his parents of his newfound love and expresses his desire to marry Sally as soon as he can.
Shocked by his infatuation, Herman’s parents inform him that it is impossible for a lobster to marry a crab.
Herman immediately asks the obvious question, “Why?”
To which his mother explains matter of factly,
“Because crabs walk sideways and lobsters walk straight.”
Distraught, Herman must now tell Sally that their lives together cannot be due to a silly conflict in the crustacean code of conduct.
“Let me talk to your mom and dad,” replied Sally, “I’ll show them crabs really aren’t that bad.”
Despite her efforts, Herman’s parents laugh at Sally’s funny stride before turning their claws on her and walking away.
Thus the marriage never came to be as the two lovers were separated by a mindless dispute over a difference in mobility.
Herman was broken-hearted. Then one day while he was out for a stroll on the sandbar, he spotted Sally. Amazingly, Sally was walking perfectly straight. Herman’s heart was pounding with joy, for now he knew they could reunite and marry.
Running up to Sally, Herman said, “Sweetheart now they’ll take you in the family!”
To which Sally answered, “Don’t you sweetheart me! Hic!”, thus ending the tragic legend of Herman the lobster and Sally the crab.
The Greatest Showman was one who paved the path of disability acceptance
Though completely different in tone, the recent film “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman has a similar message.
The story is a Hollywoodized musical biography about P.T. Barnum and his undying enthusiasm to transition show business into a new world of extravagant spectacular entertainment.
At first, elitist outsiders viewed Barnum’s other-side-of-the-tracks sensationalism as “freak” shows that made fun of people with deformities and handicaps. As with the story of Herman and Sally, it was easy to see how Barnum’s efforts may be seen to be taking advantage of a situation in an effort to obtain huge monetary rewards.
As time progressed, however, the film portrays Barnum as a man of compassion. The showman was known to treat his “freaks” with dignity. He gave them a means of making a legitimate living during an era when they would normally be shunned by society.
Realizing he had betrayed his roots and core beliefs, Barnum has an epiphany during the course of the film and returns to the people who stood by him and became a “family” of outsiders.
From being a whole person to a person seeking disability acceptance
For people who suddenly discover they are no longer physically “whole” due to disabilities such as Alzheimer’s, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS and other afflictions that partially or totally rob them of their abilities to live a normal life, these two stories have deeply seeded messages for the victims as well as those who retain their health.
Thankfully through awareness and greater understanding of these handicaps, the number of people accepting the plight of people who are no longer “complete” is growing incrementally.
It truly does “take a village” and eventually, perhaps one day, solutions and cures will be found to resolve the horrors of such debilitating circumstances.
Because of that, it is now possible for the quality of life of these victims to reach higher levels than ever before, and that is truly a cause for optimism.
Aesop’s moral messages
To paraphrase Aesop, the ancient Greek fabulist who lived 500 years BCE and was known for the moral messages at the end of his stories, Herman the lobster might say to Sally the crab, “Expect the worst, and prepare for the ‘bisque.'”
About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up