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Sunday, January 22, 2012

The World's Bravest Man

I'll be honest... this blog entry was going to be a factual bit of data on ama (Japanese pearl divers). I wrote this in about 20 minutes some four months ago when I was at lunch at a conference... and then lost it. I found it a few days ago - luckily, I think. After I wrote the fanciful first paragraph... well... it took on a life of its own.

Perhaps I should have spent more than 20 minutes on it, but I thought you might like a look at how my mind works(?).

Regardless... this blog entry is dedicated to Caroline.

If the world is your oyster, or perhaps like myself you would like it to be your oyster, then I am sure you all know the prize that exists inside the oyster...

I'm not talking about the meat of the bi-valve, that is a soft and squishy, slimy, slurpy living organism that lives within that impossibly hard shell. I'm talking about the pearl.

But really, what about that soft and squishy, slimy, slurpy living organism inside that impossibly hard shell?

Can you imagine that first guy - and it was a man - who looked at an oyster, saw a bird smash one open against some rocks, and then did the same, smashing first the bird against the rocks and then the oyster... and when he looked at the slimy raw mess inside its shell he said to his friend who was placing the dead bird on a stick to burn over a fire:

"Hey Grog! I bet you three rocks (no money back in the caveman days) that you won't eat this!"

"Grog eat!"

"I mean raw."

"Uhhhhh... okay. Grog eat."

Well, Grog must have been the bravest (or the stupidest) man on the planet before the invention of YouTube. To pick up that oyster, put the shell to his lips, tilt his head back and let the shivering mass of mucous-y, muscle slide down his throat... wow... that's courageous!

Says Grog: "Yum... but it need nice white wine with it, Tor. Go get another bird to smash grapes!"

Now when Grog suddenly died of anaphylactic shock 20 seconds later and with Tor's testimony of the bird gods cursing Grog, it meant that no one would eat another oyster for a very long time... perhaps a whole 47 minutes later, as a caveman - or at least Tor - did not have a great memory.

Tor, who would later be the ancestor of the Japanese race, ate another oyster after finding another bird, and proclaimed the shellfish "Oishi!! (delicious)".

Anyhow... that is how this particular bi-valve mollusk became known as an Oishi-Tor - apparently named after its successfully, survivable opportunistic co-founder.

Tor would later shorten the name to Ois-tor... which is translated in English to 'oyster'.

And there you have it... the previously untold and thus unknown story of where the oyster got its name.

Somewhere saying 'aw shucks',
Andrew Joseph
The image above is of the Walrus and the Carpenter from Alice's adventures Through The Looking Glass.
The story just popped into my head as I began writing... and it just kept getting larger and stupider. I had no idea where it was going or why I named the two cavemen Grog and Tor - Tor being the really important one of the joke I made. I mean really... it was just going to be a two-line joke... a joke which never actually made it into the story, and is now lost somewhere within my hard shell of a head. Does anyone have a rock and a bird?


  1. Hey, that actually makes sense.... Sort of. (Did you see my message about pulling pics off the internet?)

  2. Replies
    1. "Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy!
      You do know that brillig means broiling time (4PM) in Anglo-Saxon, though? We could have tea and broiled Oishi-tors!