Thursday, May 7, 2009

Real men hunt with their thumbs.

An illustration of the most advanced modern hunting techniques, the joystick.
A picture of Mr Jerkface and the lobster claw game at the San Pedro fish market

I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on the subject of lobsters as of late, but this time, I simply can't help myself. We found a lobster crane game in San Pedro. I've heard of this "holy grail of the claw-game world", but I never, ever, expected to see one north of the Mason Dixie line.

The "Love Maine Lobster" game was an opportunity too good to pass up. As a modern man, I am almost entirely removed from the food chain. Deep down, I always felt I was missing out, by not participating in the grand game of survival. I have never hunted and killed an animal to put in my mouth. I have never gutted a fish and cooked it over an open fire. I have never had to sort edible entrails from the inedible entrails. The closest I get to hunting or gathering is a drive-thru window. Now I have found myself with an opportunity to hunt like our ancestors, but utilizing the skills only a modern man could possess. This is hunting, hunting with a joystick.

A haggard and surely lobster, preparing to do battle
After the first few rounds struggling with those wily clawed beasts, my knees began to shake. I was overcome by that glorious adrenaline rush, the "fight or flight" instinct. Usually that feeling only comes after 6 shots of whiskey, and realizing I've just said something terminally stupid to someone twice my size, who is totally pissed, and totally willing to beat my ass. I could'nt help but wonder if this is what my ancestors felt like, pearched abreast the prow of a hand carved canoe, gliding silently alongside an unsuspecting whale, harpoon in hand, poised to strike. Was this what it's like to stalk a lion through the parched African veldt, only a small carefully fashioned spear standing between certain death and glory? Was this what Lee Harvey Oswald felt like in that book depoitory, rifle gripped tightly in sweaty palms, waiting for that fateful motorade? I may never know for certain, but it was probably as close as I will ever come.

It took me about $30 to figure out the basics, and I never did get one all the way out of the tank, but the experience has changed me forever.

Hunting with a joystick;
finer points of the lobster crane game
Step 1: Select your opponent.
It is vital that you choose carefully. The lobsters at the bottom of the tank are often lethargic and apathetic. There may not be much fight left in them, and their cowardice will taint the sweet taste of victory. The lobsters closer to the top of the tank often have more fight in them, you will notice an intense desire to survive at any and all costs. Fortunately, this is delicious. Keep an eye out for battle scars, like dented carapaces, mangled antennae, and missing limbs. This indicates the lobsters been in the tank a while, and knows the ropes of the game, making them more likely to be considered worthy of your brutal affections.

Step 2: Name your opponent
Any worthy adversary is deserving of a name. If you name your waffles, breakfast is no longer a meal, it's a victory. This holds true for breakfast, lunch, and if your lucky, dinner. There are no predetermined lobster naming conventions, but thus far I have stuck strictly to names from Knights of the Round Table. To date I have done battle with Sir Lancelot, The Green Knight, and Sir Galahad.

Step 3: Engage
The battle will be long, expensive, and taxing, both emotionally and physically. You will not win. Crane games are rigged, ALL crane games are rigged. This makes the experience marginally less fun. You should be absolutely certain to poke and prod your advesary as much as possible, this will irrate him. There is no shame in this. The lobster will tire as the fight rages on. In the event you should emerge victorious:

Step 4: Enjoy the spoils of war
After the lobsters is in the drop chute, your part is done. Let the cooks deal with it. If you have the culinary prowess to prepare your own lobster, you should'nt be hunting with a joystick anyways.


  1. Love Maine Lobster Claw Game

    I am your Father.

  2. Mr. Jerkface,

    You need to write much more..great skills and a wonderful sense of humor!

    My name is Mike Martin the Director of Touch Tanks for Kids. The manufacture of the claw game is one of all sponsors and The San Pedro Fish Market is Awesome. I live in Maine but in '06 I attended the San Pedro Lobster Festival..Henry is the Man..though Jim Wilson the event coordinator is a SOB.....Keep up the great Blogging...I am now following Mr Jerk Face.

  3. Hunting with a joystick is great, that's true. But I think you're forgetting an important aspect.

    You were technically fishing. And Fishing is a manly right of passage.

    So congradulations!