Sunday, February 3, 2013

Decorator Crabs

Gleefully, yet with a degree of defiance, the Decorator Crab raises his mighty claw and yells, "Adorn thyselves, Earthlings!"

And so we did.

But it took us a while to get the hang of it. Long before humans began embellishing themselves with baubles and beads, he encrusted himself with small shells and fragments of glimmering stone. Long before we started affixing lace to our collars and balancing feathered hats upon our round, tentative heads, he confidently placed bits of ocean moss and coral atop his own crown. Long before we began attaching frilly cascades and ruffles to our plain frocks, he carefully and expertly secured long tendrils of seaweed and small anemones to his smooth shell. Many flora and fauna are adept at personal enhancement, but the Decorator Crab is a master. In all the world, there is none who surpasses the Decorator Crab with respect to purpose, conception and creativity. His arrangements are always inspired and deliberate, and from observing him, slowly over time, we learned that we could mold our plain, plodding bodies into more delicate and ethereal shapes.

And the purpose of all this strenuous activity? Is it to attract attention or is it designed to camouflage? Well, that probably depends on the intent and mood of the individual in question. With the methods described above, it is possible to distinguish ourselves from the crowd or to disappear entirely into our surroundings. Both can be useful. Luminous pearls or linen the color of sand? Which will you pick today? Take a cue from the Decorator Crab and consider your environment and what you want to achieve. WWDCD? That's what you should ask yourself if you're having trouble figuring it out.

Directly or indirectly, fashion designers, stage performers, and covert operatives everywhere owe a huge debt to this small but very talented creature who has perfected the art of extreme ornamentation and concealment.

We humans have done a pretty good job, I guess, but let's not forget who invented the practice, okay?