Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A jilted woman sews shrimp into the curtain hems of the house she shares with her lover, and the impossible-to-locate stench drives him and his new lady love to sell the house.
This is a tale of revenge, pure and simple. Maybe someone somewhere actually did pull this at one time, but one has to wonder if there are that many vengeful women out there, each of them happening upon the notion of hiding rotting seafood in possessions cherished by their
Driving the tale is the belief that men value possessions far more than they value relationships. Striking back not at them, but at what they own, is seen as a killer blow.
Barbara "shellfish motive" Mikkelson
Sightings: You'll find mention of a similar stunt in John Steinbeck's 1945 Cannery Row. The character Doc advocates getting revenge on a bank by renting a safety deposit box, depositing a salmon in it, then going away for six months. Also, in the 1993 film, Grumpy Old Men, Walter Matthau hides a fish inside Jack Lemmon's car. And in the 2003 made-for-TV movie A Tale of Two Wives, the wronged women hide shrimp in the bigamist's office blinds.
Last updated: 23 April 2008
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