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The DS Life: God Bless You, Mr. Crabs

The DS Life is a weekly feature in which we scour the known world for narrative images of Nintendo's handhelds and handheld gamers. If you have a photo and a story to match it with, send both to thedslife at dsfanboy dot com.

Mr. Crabs was an extraordinary creature, brilliant but brash. Always dreaming up new adventures, he promised us all that he was destined for big things. We pleaded with Mr. Crabs, "Don't go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to." But he shrugged off our pleas, setting out one day without notice to explore the world. It was that devil-may-care attitude of his that we all loved, and, ultimately, it was also what lead to his demise.

We gather here today to celebrate Mr. Crab's death by remembering not only how he lived, but also how his skeleton lived during the months long after his crustacean soul's passing. Scuttle sideways past the break and read on for the story of how a young crab in Santa Cruz became an international superstar with his debut on DS Fanboy's front page.

We caught up with Claudia Sandoval, Mr. Crabs' best friend and former owner, to learn more about her asymmetrically clawed pet. Easily identified by their single over-sized cheliped, male fiddler crabs use that immense limb for both communication and courtship.

Claudia didn't tell us much about Mr Crabs' mating habits, but she was more than happy to take us through other aspects of his short life -- his favorite Nintendo DS game, how he escaped from his aquarium, and what motivated her into taking photos of his lifeless shell months after Mr. Crabs had died.

How did you cross paths with Mr. Crabs?

I saw Mr. Crabs at this crappy pet store by my house. He had one big claw, so I had to have him. The tank he was in was surprisingly healthy, so it was a go!

My tank is the 25-gallon Fern Gully of aquariums. He had real plants, rocks, and driftwood, but it just wasn't enough. He spent a lot of time on the driftwood practicing Tai Chi. Other times, he would meditate on the leaves that grew close to the water level. In hindsight, I know that he was devising his plan of escape, but it was still a rather peaceful existence.

How long did you have him?

I had him for maybe four months before we noticed him climbing higher leaves. So I clipped a few of the taller leaves. But nope, that didn't stop him. One Saturday morning, my roommate had woken up early, and as he made his way into the living room, he thought he saw something scurry across the floor. Well, it turned out that it was Mr. Crabs! So I scooped him up, placed him in the tank, and cut some more of the leaves to prevent that sucker from escaping! We live about three blocks from the beach, but I warned him that he would only meet his salty demise if he were to leave again.

What sort of habitat did you keep Mr. Crabs in?

[He had] a 25-gallon aquarium where he lived among a bunch of other tropical fish. If you must know, some tetras, a plecostomus (algae eater), some cory catfish, and a female betta. Nothing crazy or aggressive. In that tank, anyway.

Would you say that he had a happy life?

I thought he had a happy life, but maybe I was wrong since he tried escaping. Mr. Crabs' favorite song was "Freebird," so maybe he just took it a little too far.

Did you feel "close" at all to him as a pet?

I can't say I ever felt all that close to him because there was always a layer of glass between us, but he definitely has a special place in my heart. But not compared to my dog. Well, since the photo shoot, maybe. I can't get my dog to ghostride the whip.

How did you feel when he escaped from his tank?

I don't know if you can print this, but I felt like an asshole! I knew I couldn't find him in the tank for a couple days, but when a week or two had gone by, I felt bad because I hadn't seen him and knew he had to have escaped. But I didn't see his exoskeleton anywhere, so I figured he started making his way to the beach, or maybe my cat got him, or maybe he was tucked away in some corner left to die. It made me sad, but I didn't want to replace him because Mr. Crabs is simply irreplaceable. Okay, fine, I didn't wanna cough up the dough for a new one just for it to escape.

So months passed. I don't know, maybe eight or so. I had just cleaned up all the wires behind the TV and noticed Mr. Crabs' exoskeleton in the corner! I couldn't believe it! He was obviously not alive, but the way he had dried out, his eyes were all bulged out and it was pretty cool.

What made you decide to have a photo shoot with Mr. Crabs' exoskeleton?

I've had aquariums most of my life, and, over the years, I've had many a fish jump out the back of the tank where they end up perfectly preserved for me to come across when I do some cleaning behind the tank and stand. Normally, I would throw them away or place them somewhere as a knick-knack until I eventually throw them away. But Mr. Crabs looked way too cool to just throw away. I had recently gotten a new Sony Cybershot camera, and it has a killer macro setting, and I don't know, I just got the idea to put Mr. Crabs in different places throughout the house and take some pictures.

Mr. Crabs lead a very peaceful existence, but found the afterlife to be quite a party. As you can see in the pictures, Mr. Crabs is no hero. He's drinking on his boat, chillin' on a bowl of greens, and ghostriding the whip! He also liked to play the DS. His favorite games were the minigames on New Super Mario Bros. He couldn't stand Dr. Ryuta Kawashima. He felt that he wasn't sincere and often made him feel stupid.

What lead up to him "breaking" (see photo below)?

Well, I had taken a bunch of pictures that came out pretty funny. The DS one is by far my favorite. I placed him inside a Tupperware container to take him to work and other places for more pictures and have it be a running thing. But I was a moron and closed the lid on one of his legs, and he was completely crushed. As was my heart.

Do you ever miss Mr. Crabs?

Yes, I miss Mr. Crabs and his big claw. But his dreams were too big for such a small tank. And this crab, you cannot change, no, no, you can't change.

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