Here in the spic and span offices of The Curmudgeon, we write about people who are “washed up,” “washed out,” and “washed over,” but never have we written about Lobsters that have been washed ashore. That’s right. Free lobster.
It happened in St. John, New Brunswick, in a small seaside Canadian town. A storm in the Atlantic caused the crusty crustaceans to wash ashore and word spread quickly: “There’s free lobster, eh?” To lobster lovers, it was a perfect storm, and the people came quickly to fill up on this bounty from the sea. All those lobsters laying there on the beach, saying in their little lobster voices, “Eat me, eat me,” and “How’s a lobster roll sound?” and “Want some tail, sailor?”
But in today’s world nothing is so simple. I mean, there are governments and all, and nothing doesn’t go through them somehow some way. “Hold on there, my hungry citizens, where is my cut?” That’s right. The government took exception to this free delicacy. Free? Who has ever heard of such an absurd thing? Where is our cut? In fact, the Canadian federal Fisheries and Oceans ministry said the shellfish sackers were breaking the law which says lobster can only be taken in traps by licensed fishermen during open season. Anyone caught, the ministry continued, collecting lobsters without us getting our cut…er…I mean, anyone caught could be fined $100,000.
Mayor Pierre Godin of the town Petit-Rocher dismissed the warning with a wave of his hand, as though shooing a pesky fly, said (hopefully in a French accent,) “Sacre Bleu! About one zouzand peepole have enjoyed zee lobster, including moi. We have been eating zee washed up seafood for centuries, mon dieu!”
And here I thought the U.S. had a lock on this kind of government intrusion, and it really doesn’t come as a shock, and yet I was a little taken aback that the feds insisted on sticking their fingers in this tasty bisque. It’s not like the good citizens were fishing out of season or stealing from traps. This was a gift from mother nature.
And we all know it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
(This story was first reported in New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, January 6th, 2010.)