Once upon a time there was a blue crab named Mr. Little Crab who lived in the bottom a barrel. He loved his place at the bottom, and he could only watch with amusement as the other, larger crabs pushed and shoved each other to get to the top.
“Why would anyone want to live at the top of the barrel?” wondered Mr. Little Crab. “Those top crabs have too much responsibility. They have to follow the rules and set an example and train all the new crabs. I am much happier in the bottom of the barrel, where I can talk on my cell phone, take a multiple-day nap whenever I feel like it, and sell chicken necks on the side–all while being paid by the barrel owner.”
One day, however, Mr. Little Crab noticed the barrel was less full than it usually was. “Hmm,” Mr. Little Crab thought. “I can almost see daylight up there. Maybe I should stretch my claws and climb up to take a look.”
Inch by inch, Mr. Little Crab climbed, pulling the few remaining lazy crabs out of the way and tossing them down to the bottom of the barrel. Along the way, Mr. Little Crab pretended he was strong and able, and the barrel owner seemed to not care that Mr. Little Crab continued to use his cell phone, sell chicken necks, or that he took naps for days at a time with no explanation.
“Wow, I should have tried this sooner,” thought Mr. Little Crab. “I still don’t have to work very hard, and the cell coverage is so much better up here!”
One day, a beautiful young crabette arrived in the barrel. She was so smart and such a fast learner that she never spent time at the bottom of the barrel. This made Mr. Little Crab angry and resentful.
“Why does SHE get to live at the top of the barrel? Just because she’s willing to work hard? I will show her!”
And show her he did. He scurried to the very top edge of the barrel, where the crabette was being trained by the senior crab. He gently pinched the crabette’s claws and made her laugh. He even put his cell phone down for a moment and briefly worked hard like the other top crabs did.
The lovely crabette asked the senior crab, “He seems so nice, and he’s great at his work. Is he really from the bottom of the barrel?”
“Ha!” laughed the senior crab. “Mr. Little Crab only knows how to work three days out of five, and that’s when he actually shows up. His excuses are legendary. No one knows why the barrel owner keeps him. But, it’s really none of my or your business.”
The crabette shrugged and continued her hard work.
By now, Mr. Little Crab was in his element. He was living at the top of the barrel, where fresh air, good cell coverage, and the pretty crabette all existed at once. He was able to continue to sell chicken necks and take his naps. Why, he wondered, hadn’t he pulled the other crabs down and moved to the top sooner?
Mr. Little Crab now felt invincible–and ready to push the new crabette out the barrel. Instead of gently pinching her claws, he embarrassed and harassed her. He teased her about having a boyfriend and made her blush to the very tips of her pincers with his lewd and inappropriate remarks.
The crabette quickly became uncertain and extremely uncomfortable. “Maybe this isn’t the barrel for me,” she confided to the senior crab.
The senior crab was aghast when she heard the young crabette’s story. She complained to one of the barrel owner’s watchdogs, but the dog just yawned. She urged another watchdog to take action, and he said he would try, but pointed out that the barrel owner had the final say.
Finally, the senior crab talked to the barrel owner, because by now, the new crabette was ready to flee the barrel altogether.
The barrel owner listened, but explained there were procedures to follow, and this was the first offense of this kind by Mr. Little Crab.
Meanwhile, Mr. Little Crab felt incredibly empowered. He laughed at the crabette’s discomfort and taunted the senior crab as he reveled in her anger at the situation.
“I did it!” he exclaimed from the top rim of the barrel. “My name may be Mr. Little Crab, but I am Mr. Big Crab, now!”
Yep, Mr. Little Crab almost stole the day. Almost.
Until someone placed an order for crab cakes….