| As a radio talk show host it's assumed by many, of course, that I know everything. It's not surprising that people think this, since so many of my fellow talk show hosts promote themselves as “know-it-alls.”
I'm not saying I'm a know-it-all, I'm just saying that people think I know a lot and these people frequently ask me questions about Maine and things related to our state.
On computer web sites frequently asked questions are known as FAQs and just to show that - if nothing else - we are in touch with all things of a cyber nature - I thought I'd do an FAQs column' for this first week of summer. If nothing else it should help the newly arrived tourists.
The first question we have to deal with, of course, was: how many times does a question have to be asked before it can be certified as a 'frequently asked question' or FAQ? We still haven't come up with a snappy answer to that frequently question, but we'll do the best we can under the circumstances.
The most frequently asked question we get here at Storyteller Central, the FAQ of all Maine's FAQs, is the simple question - "What is the difference between soft-shell and hard-shell lobsters?"
Here's a typical e-mail from Ken in Maryland: “John, We know a little about Maine and have eaten our share of lobster but we’ve never had anyone explain to us the differences between hard-shell and soft-shell lobsters. Is it something like the difference between hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs?
Thanks for the e-mail, Ken. Forget the egg analogy, even though lobsters do originate as eggs and are eventually“ boiled.” Soft shell lobsters are also known as “shedders” because, as they mature, they have to shed their old shells to grow newer, larger shells. While this maturing process is going on these shedders, or soft shell lobsters, are still be caught and sold but sold as shedders or soft shell lobsters. They are geberally cheaper because they have less meat in them. But because the meat is considered sweeter, and the shells are softer and easier to crack open, many prefer them to mature hard shell lobsters.
In an e-mail that is typical of another FAQ, Eric writes: “John, I once read that a tourist can't say they've 'experienced' Maine unless - during their visit - they have a “personal encounter” with a moose, a lobster or a light house. Is this true? And what does it mean, John?”
Thanks for the e-mail, Eric. First, I want to call your attention to our license plates. Here in Maine we ask our prison inmates to put the word 'vacationland' on the license plates they pound out for us at their facility there in Warren, so that people like you will know how important vacations are to us here in Maine.
All seriousness aside, Eric, we take tourists and their vacations very seriously. It's safe to say that nothing in Maine - not trees, not even seafood - has been studied more intensely and measured more carefully than tourists and the 'vacation experience' they have while within our borders. Not only do we know how many tourists visit our state each year, we also know where they come from, why they come, how much money they bring and leave and - when it's over - what they thought of their Maine experience.'
We also know that if a tourist doesn't see a moose, eat a lobster or photograph a light house their trip will be judged a total failure.
We also know that a seafood platter may substitute for a lobster but there are no platters to substitute for a moose or light house experience.
Enjoy your vacation!