For those of who you don’t speak idiom, to “change lobsters and dance” is equivalent to the perhaps more commonplace “go with the flow,” “roll with the punches,” “stop whining, be grateful and get on board with the changes that are happening that you clearly have no control over, idiot.” That last one you haven’t heard? Strange.
Adapted from Lewis Carrol’s “The Lobster Quadrille,” this phrase was nudged along into the mainstream lexicon when film star Lilli Palmer published her autobiography under the title “Change Lobsters- And Dance.”
I was recently reminded of this oft-used (would we still call it that?) expression by my father; I happened to be particularly bent out of shape by the fact that one very small set of things were not going the way I had envisioned they would. So I did what any person would do– I hurried up and got my dad on the horn.
“Dad,” I spewed, “this isn’t this, and that isn’t that, and blah blah blah and Oh, did I mention this, too?”
And then my dad, ever the psychoanalyst, ever the calm, stable voice from out of the abyss, replied in his most even, earnest tone,
“This is a moment where you can be full of resentment and frustration, and you can let that hold you back. Or you can choose to be grateful, to see that things have shifted so as to open up other opportunities for you, and most of all, to follow that old saying, ‘change lobsters and dance.'”
Change lobsters and dance! Duh, Annie! Hi!
I’m not quite sure why that phrase happened to be so impactful in the moment, but it was, and it has remained in effect for me ever since he uttered it.
There was much embedded in those words: You cannot control everything and it’s futile to try. You may not have asked for this situation at the outset, but life has set into motion events to put this in front of you; see the blessings in it. Harbor resentment and let rigidity rule you or choose to be flexible in life, to adapt your plan and shift your mindset, to welcome in the present moment with an open heart.
And when he put it that way, the answer was obvious.
I hope it’s as clear for you as it was for me, whenever this phrase comes into play.
Image credit: Carol Holaday