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Food for Thought: Cracking the Exoskeleton



Joined: 11/21/2014
Posts: 1
depatie.j
Lobsters are peculiar animals. Tens legs that allow for constant movement, sharp dangerous claws, and a hard, seemingly unbreakable exoskeleton are enough to constitute a young child’s nightmare. But each year on Fourth of July, with the glow of the sunset illuminating our wooden dinner table at our small lake house in Maine, these strange creatures bring my family together.

My family is spread out across the East Coast and West Coast, which makes contact difficulty and being in the same room almost impossible. We all lead independent lives; always moving, always busy, always something preventing reunion. When we do find ourselves in the same room, sometimes it feels as though we are strangers, making eye contact, and casual, polite conversation. Distance creates tension and conflicts, and a normal dinner conversation sometimes implies passive aggressive comments, hushed topics, and the scraping of forks and knives against ceramic plates replace the inevitable awkward silences.

But when steamed lobsters are on our plates, the mood turns a different way. Family conflicts are no longer pertinent as we laugh at the younger children staring at the lobster’s beady eyes, when a crushing crack squirts juice into our neighbor's eyes. If I had to guess, I would have to say that none of us know how to properly eat a lobster based on the mess we make. At the end of the meal, none of us can accurately explain how butter got on the wall, how the dog grabbed a claw, or even the piece of shell one of us cries out in pain about as it becomes lodged in our foot.

We make efforts to help each other, based on strategies that we have learned (or developed through trial and error, mostly proving ineffective). Laughter over failure turns to recounting warm memories of the dinner previously, opening up a common ground safe for conversation and away towards the reality of the world. As the sun sets below the tree line across the lake, the story of my cousin’s first lobster dinner is recounted each year; my grandparents had allowed my cousin to play with the alive lobsters before a meal once, and not knowing that we were going to eat them, he had named them. We laugh about how upset he was when he saw the lobster on his plate, and how even to this day, at twenty-seven, he will never even touch a lobster.
Every family has their conflicts and internal struggles, but the essential classification of family is love. Love is sometimes hidden and challenging, but ever-present. Sometimes all it takes is a squirt of lobster juice in the eye, or a struggle with a metal claw cracker to forget about the trivial aspects of our lives, and to concentrate on what is most important: family.

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Comment by thiegsr


Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire StageofLife.com editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Food for Thought essay being chosen as 1 of the 11 essays in the running for 1st place for our November 2014 teen writing competition. Be proud of your accomplishment. We had almost 200 essays submitted for November’s contest.

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners, and naming the 1st place winner from the narrowed field.

We will post all winning essay results by December 31st. You can check this page for the results after December 31st:
http://www.stageoflife.com/Writing_Contests/WritingContestWinners.aspx

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Thiegs
StageofLife.com Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 12:39:51 PM
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Comment by thiegsr


Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire StageofLife.com editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Food for Thought essay being selected as one of our Teen Essay runners up for November 2014.

To view all the results of our November 2014 contest, please check our winners page on or after December 31st:
http://www.stageoflife.com/Writing_Contests/WritingContestWinners.aspx

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Thiegs
StageofLife.com Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 5:02:06 PM
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