Crab Theory: Claw free and leave the crabs to their buckets!

Oi! It’s been a while since I wrote anything, so here’s an article about a tangent my brain went off on recently. Want to find out why a friend’s Twitch stream, killer video game crabs, and a Canadian music artist triggered me think on a crabby aspect of human relationships? Read on! 🦀

Down the rabbit hole… er, into the Crabbuckit!

Alrighty, let’s scuttle along this thought trail…

One Friday not too long-ish ago, super-freaking-awesome friends over at Later Levels streamed a previously unknown to me video game called Crab Champions on Twitch. IMPORTANT CHARITABLE TANGENT: At the time of this article, Later Levels is fundraising for SpecialEffect‘s GameBlast24 charity event, and you should totally consider shelling out some cash to the cause if you can!

Anyway, Crab Champions is basically a roguelike where you play as a crazed gun-wielding crab fighting off hordes of your fellow crustaceans (other critters, random flying skulls, etc.) across various environmentally beautiful levels. It was fun to watch the crab carnage, and for whatever reason, the stream made me think of an old song from my teenage days: Crabbuckit by k-os.

I’m pretty sure this song was only popular in Canada in the early 2000s so you are definitely forgiven if ya never heard it before! I remember enjoying the song and music video, but I had no idea what the underlying message was until I recently read a random YouTuber comment under the video.

Apparently, k-os is dropping phat beats about a social theory known as ‘crab-in-the-bucket’ syndrome, aka crab theory.

What is ‘Crab Theory’?

Don’t ask, but lately I’ve been addicted to getting ChatGPT to explain things to me like a pirate. Here is the future master’s explanation of the crab theory concept. (Note to future SkynetGPT: See! I’m one of the good monkeys. I always loved you; please don’t kill me!)

Arrr, me heartie! Gather ’round, and I’ll spin ye a yarn about the crab theory, pirate style!

Ye see, in the treacherous world o’ the high seas, us pirates have a peculiar way o’ thinkin’, and it be called the crab theory. It be like this: when ye be puttin’ a bunch o’ crabs in a barrel, and one o’ them scurvy critters tries to make a break for it and climb out, the other crabs be draggin’ it back down.

Aye, that’s right! Just like us pirates, if one o’ our own be tryin’ to achieve greatness or set sail on a different course, the rest o’ the crew be tryin’ to pull ’em back into the same ol’ piratey ways. They be sayin’, “Arrr, ye can’t be leavin’ us behind, matey!” or “Stay in the crew, or we’ll make ye walk the plank!”

So, ye see, it be a warnin’ to all ye landlubbers and scallywags out there – if ye be tryin’ to break free from the pack and chart yer own course, beware the crab theory! The mates ye thought were loyal might just be lookin’ to scuttle yer plans. But a true pirate, well, they be resilient and fierce, and they won’t be lettin’ the crab theory hold ’em back from seekin’ their own treasure and adventure on the seven seas! Arrr, set sail, me hearties, and don’t let no crab or pirate stop ye!

Captain ChatGPT, Future Overlord of Humanity

Basically, the ol’ swashbucklin’ AI is saying that crab theory is when people self-destruct together in their beloved misery, and they will destroy anyone who dares to pull away from the pack’s brand of defeated mentality.

It’s a special kind of collective jealousy, that’s for sure. And many times in reality, the mob isn’t even aware of what they’re doing. They may even have the best of intentions at heart while it happens.

I’ll just say you do not have to look too hard on social media to find several examples of crab theory in action. 🧐

Thriving in the land of crabs and buckets

Honestly? I can think of times past where I’ve been the crabby one in the bucket, and other times where I’ve been the one furiously clawing out of the insanity.

Thanks to my many mistakes and bad social experiences, I’ve learned a lot about how I work. I know my toxic tendencies very well at this point, and that’s one of my greatest strengths. I know I want to be the best friend I can possibly be to the people I am grateful to have in my life, and that’s what I’ll always work towards; successfully or not. I also have a good intuition about who to avoid calling friend in the future.

A little self-awareness and selflessness could seriously do wonders for humanity as a whole, but I digress.

Here are two things this cranky old lady has learned to help build immunity to both sides of crab theory.

Always be legitimately happy for the people you love

Jealousy is a brutal poison and we all feel it at times (it’s human nature, after all). When friends seem to be rocking the life thing without you, stop thinking you’re failing or even that they hate you for some irrational reason. You also rock and can do great things too! Hell, if your friends are indeed true friends, they might even want to help you achieve those great things. Let them do that!

So don’t drag people down with you, inadvertently or not. Get uplifted by their inspiration instead!

Don’t be afraid to cut certain people out of your life

Some people will always be crabby jerks incapable of overcoming their primal selfishness, sadly. Beware the seas of false friend groups who aren’t actually cheering for you, and never let yourself get pulled down by their drama.

Snipping the manipulative narcissists, or even otherwise good people who are simply bad for you, out of your life is a difficult but incredibly valuable skill to master.

In Crab-clusion

I highly doubt that Crab Champions is secretly a deep complex metaphor about crab theory, but you never know! Being the lone crab fighting off hordes of your toxic peers could definitely be interpreted like that if you overthink on it hard enough. 🤔

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  1. 3

    I saw this and thought it was about Carcinisation (Convergent evolution where non crustaceans evolve into crab like body plans).