Sea Star Struck

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.  In the sea you cling to rock so hard like the lobster pot pie tossed in my brother’s eye.

Ah, I can’t help but remember some memorable food fights around the dining room table when we were kids. Much to mother’s chagrin, we showed our cooking appreciation by seeing if her meals really stuck to each other’s ribs.  Fights escalated quickly because of the lazy Susan tray that we’d spin so hard that food and condiments would fly at the speed of light, which is a measurement only surpassed by spankings that you never saw coming.  Mom was very fast.

The upside was I learned to like foods I would never have tried without the super sonic spinning. Also, the lazy Susan covered the hole in the dining room table that was actually a picnic table. We didn’t have the umbrella that should have gone with it.  Mom said it was because opening umbrellas inside the house was bad luck.  I always thought that the bad luck was that we didn’t have the money for a real table.  But we went along with Mom’s explanation because we didn’t want to hurt her feelings and didn’t want the Lazy Susan to be yanked from future enjoyment.

Actually looking back on it, I believe my brothers and I thought of lazy Susan as the sister we never had, but would have enjoyed tormenting. These were good times, but then life intervened.  We grew up and the lazy Susan was sold in a garage sale. We’ve lost touch with one another, but hope to reunite through William, a website that matches lost utensils and kitchen appliances with loved ones.

Oops. I got distracted with juvenile hijinks whose records are sealed. Don’t go snooping.  Get a life you nosy readers.

Let’s move on to more important matters. Our sea stars are under attack. That’s right.  The twinkle, twinkle little star is blinking out due to some nefarious entity that to date defies explanation.  It’s a wasting disease that turns these creatures to mush.

I can relate to that.  I’m much more mushy than I used to be. My brain is like a sieve and I’ve lost strength in my limbs. Did I mention that my limbs are like a sieve and I’ve lost strength in my brain?

Your heart goes out to these innocent creatures.  Fortunately, better minds than mine have taken up the challenge to find out what’s causing their demise. These experts are called epidemiologists and believe that the culprit is an infectious agent that is contractually due 15%, but goes awry and takes 100% out of the star’s hide. Epidemiologists have turned to Hollywood to locate the hot spot that started this epidemic and hope to isolate and identify greedy agents who have spiraled out of control.

Scientists from Cornell, UC Santa Cruz and the University of Washington are dedicated to following the scientific method that’s first step is to secure patent royalties before announcing the cure in the second step. Unfortunately, the patents are being challenged in marine court by mussels, snails and urchins who are natural prey for sea stars.  The court case centers on the fairness of the sea star’s “keystone” species designation and its challenge to eliminate this protection and let nature run its course.  Sea stars, who are falling apart limb by limb at an alarming rate, have put their faith in concerned Lagunans who have promised to raise their own limbs and bear arms to show the world that orange is the new black.  Long live sea stars.


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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