November 16, 2013

"Scientists discover world's oldest clam, killing it in the process."

The clam was 507 years old, and the scientists were screwing around with it in their effort to research climate change — because old clams are (as the Christian Science Monitor puts it) "palimpsests of climate change."
[T]he lines on its shell to estimate its age, much as alternating bands of light and dark in a fish’s ear-bones are used to tell how old the animal is."
The clam "born in 1499." (Are clams born?)
This is the same year that the English hanged a Flemish man, Perkin Warbeck, for (doing a bad job of) pretending to be the lost son of King Edward IV and the heir to the British throne. It’s also the same year that Switzerland became its own state, the French King Louis XII got married, and Diane de Poitiers, future mistress to another French king, Henry II, was born.
It's not like the clam could reminisce about such things. What could the clam say? What's one century or the next to a clam? It's one eternal moment down there. Is it not? Do you revere a clam because it is 500 years old? Does it have a greater clam to continued life than all the little clams in the last bowl of chowder you gulped?

Oh, but those are not little clams in your chowder. Those are cut up large clams, often ocean quahogs like that Oldest Clam in the World, and probably often over a century old.

ADDED: I see I wrote "Does it have a greater clam to continued life." For years, I've had an uncanny tendency to write "clam" for "claim." Taking notes in law school, I used to sometimes need to stifle a laugh. But I don't think I ever wrote "clam" for "claim" while writing about clams. The claims of clams.

What does that clam claim?

17 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Perhaps their proverbial care-free existence contributes to their longevity. We can't know, of course, whether they possess a sense of irony. If so, one might speculate how the clam felt about being killed by some zealous hominid desperate to prove that other hominids are ruining the planet, and, well, killing the clams.

Rob McLean said...

The clam "born in 1499...this is the same year that the English hanged a Flemish man..."

...and the Cubs last won the World series.

tim in vermont said...

Loss is a powerful human emotion. It can be exploited in no end of ways. Christianity is about loss of the Garden and redemption. The global warming cult is similarly about loss of a pre-industrial age. Loss of a 500 year old clam tugs on that same emotion.

As far as I am concerned, it is x amount of, probably inedible, protein.

Gahrie said...

Would everyone feel better if a walrus had eaten the damn thing instead?

Rusty said...

And boy! Was it tasty!

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gerry said...

Mightn't there be an older clam elsewhere?

cubanbob said...

While in Greece during my youth I ate a lobster that was older than I was at the time. It was delicious.

MadisonMan said...

The clam was killed in 2006. And now the CSM is writing about it?

The MSM is going to extraordinary lengths to avoid talking about the Obamacare Rollout Debacle. Is there any story too trivial to be thrown at us as a distraction?

MadisonMan said...

I can just see an Editor somewhere.

I'm so tired of seeing stories critical of my Man Obama! Let's do a story on an old clam instead!!

Eric said...

I heard the clam looked happy.

St. George said...

"The Tale of the Oyster" by Cole Porter

Poor little oyster!

Lucky little oyster!

Proud little oyster!

Scared little oyster!

A brilliant song whose conclusion Shakespeare would envy.

FleetUSA said...

Ouch: "Does it have a greater clam to continued life"

Leit Bart said...

We are all palimpsests and the second "p" is silent. Who knew?

Obamacare is a palimpsest, too, but not for long, I pray.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/palimpsest

southcentralpa said...

The original Lofting Dr Doolittle tried talking to a super-old clam through about eight translators ... didn't have much of interest to say, as it turns out.

Michael said...

Why did they clam up about it for so long?

YoungHegelian said...

It wasn't until age 301 that the clam acquired the wisdom to realize that the world was not his oyster.