Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Why are clams so happy?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) December 18th, 2012

Happy as a clam? How happy is that? Lots of them end up in chowder, or here in New England in chowdah. Even more probably get gobbled up by sea birds feasting at low tide. So what do those bivalves have to be so happy about?

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39 Answers

janbb's avatar

Because they have a hard shell that protects them from pain.

josie's avatar

Probably a short version of the original simile. For example-

http://www.wisegeek.com/where-did-the-saying-happy-as-a-clam-come-from.htm

josie's avatar

On second thought, maybe it makes it makes an inaccurate assumption. For example, how do we really know that pigs are happy in shit. Maybe all those critters are miserable and we don’t even know it.

Sunny2's avatar

Ask them! If you ask me, they are bored as hell.

mazingerz88's avatar

Could it be because if you look at them straight, they look like they’re laughing when they are open? A bunch of them in a basket, all open would look like a happy crowd. I guess. : )

blueiiznh's avatar

They are not really happy. Their lives are really meaningless.

Coloma's avatar

@blueiiznh Not any more so than ours. haha

Clams are happy because they are simple organisms, living simple lives, doing simple things, like sucking up sea water and filtering out plankton. They have few predators to worry about, don’t have to worry about anything humans do, and don’t have the brain power to ponder their lives as to whether or not they have “meaning.”
Like all animals they are content to just be. Humans have to go to therapy and read 10,000 philosophy books to find one minute of clam contentment.

I could “dig” being a clam. lol

BhacSsylan's avatar

doesn’t really answer the question, but I’m just going to leave this here

JenniferP's avatar

They probably don’t have much of a brain. They probably are clueless about what awaits them. Ignorance is bliss, as the saying goes.

wundayatta's avatar

You won’t find a critter that is much more self-actualized than a clam. I mean, they just sit there all day and never move. They are perfectly contented. You never saw a clam on the picket line, and certainly not on Fox news complaining about Obama. Clams are not racist, nor sexist. They are pure happiness in a shell. Why this isn’t self-evident to you, I’ll never know.

cookieman's avatar

Only the ones with pearls are happy. Everyone just assumes it’s all clams. It is not. The rest are content at best, hostile at worst.

Now, you know who’s really happy? A pig in shit.

Coloma's avatar

@cookieman Clams don’t make pearls, Oysters do. Ya know, class differences. lol

mazingerz88's avatar

Yeah, oysters are not happy, they’re kinda offended because they are made to look like easily manipulated as in “The world is my oyster”?

filmfann's avatar

Well, they aren’t crabby.

JenniferP's avatar

Because the world is their oyster.

JenniferP's avatar

I just looked up clams on Wiki. The expression is short for “Happy as a clam at high tide.” This means they are happy because they can’t be dug up.

ETpro's avatar

@janbb You mean that shell that opens when they are steamed and doubles as a serving patter in clams on the half shell?

@josie Not only does high tide render them relatively safe from humans, sea birds feast on them at low water as well. And the tide brings in the nutrients on which they feed. So the original saying makes perfect sense.

As to pigs, they have a very highly developed sense of smell. They are better at sniffing out underground truffles that bloodhounds are. But most truffle hunters now prefer dogs, because they could care less about eating a truffle when they find one, whereas the pig will vigorously compete with the human to see who gets to claim the prize. I am pretty sure pigs prefer clean surroundings. They do like to wallow in mud, because it cools them and protects them form insect attach. But I’d bet a dollar to a doughnut (which now costs more than a buck) that they would far prefer clean mud to shit-filled slime.

@Sunny2 When I lived on the shores of the Chesapeake, I tried to engage them in conversations. They ‘just sat there smiling’;http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_D0qmWuUaP3g/R7JsPa0zAtI/AAAAAAAAA2s/jGiyzVxdewI/s1600/happyClams-706198.jpg. I couldn’t get a word out of them.

@”:http://www.fluther.com/153432/why-are-clams-so-happy/#quip2612115 I am guessing these are not happy clams.

@blueiiznh Perhaps not happy, but hardly meaningless. There purpose is to live, to reproduce, to keep life going on.

@Coloma Great answer. I couldn’t have said it better.

@BhacSsylan Ha! Ah yes, and that reminds me why I so enjoy eating a clam to make it happy.

@JenniferP Great point. They just do their thing as nature set them up to do.

@wundayatta It isn’t self evident to me because it is my sad fate not to be a clam.

@cookieman Like I mentioned to @josie above, I really don’t believe pigs find shit all than pleasant. And @Coloma‘s spot on about who makes pearls. But oysters only do it when some irritating rock or particle gets into their shell and begins to hurt. They build up a pearl around it to finally end the irritation it brings.

@mazingerz88 Now there’s another saying I just don’t get.

@JenniferP Do they even like oysters? Why would they care if the world were their oyster. Inter-species competition for the same vital resources. And yeah, @josie provided a link to the full context in his first response.

ucme's avatar

It’s like when someone can’t speak, through nerves, they are said to “clam up.”
At least that’s fairly reasonable.

JenniferP's avatar

@ETpro Sorry. I rarely read what other people write so I may repeat things others say.

Coloma's avatar

@JenniferP Then what’s the point of being a member if you have no interest in others thoughts and opinions on an interactive level?

JenniferP's avatar

@Coloma- I scan what people read. A lot of time there is just too much written or sometimes you just want to add your own thoughts.

ETpro's avatar

@ucme Thanks for planting that thought in my head. As @JenniferP & @Coloma duke it out over proper participation here, I’m going to clam up.

ucme's avatar

@ETpro A wise move, some may even say go into your shell :¬)

JenniferP's avatar

Guys, I wasn’t duking it out. I was explaining. There is something else that I was wondering about. Why do they call money clams? I think it is probably because in some places people literally used clams for currency. I’ll have to research that.

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP When we Jellies duke it out, we’re all always just ‘splaining.

JenniferP's avatar

@ETpro No, because I have duked it out on here already. Trust me. This is different.

ETpro's avatar

@JenniferP Oh OK. I certainly don’t want to duke it out with you over whether you’re duking it out or not.

JenniferP's avatar

@ETpro Good, cuz I think I could take you.

wundayatta's avatar

@JenniferP I have a feeling @ETpro would kind of like it if you tried.

JenniferP's avatar

@wundayatta You with your wanting me to fight people. Weren’t you one of them that was egging me on to jello wrestle on that other thread.

wundayatta's avatar

@JenniferP Yes. You seem like you want it so badly. You keep on challenging people. I think it’s time for you to charter a plane to wherever they live and get down and dirty. Or however you young people say it these days.

JenniferP's avatar

I am not that young. I can’t help it that I think differently. They challenge me and I don’t turn them down.

ETpro's avatar

}@JenniferP I’m up for Jello wrestling with you. But not in the virtual world. It’s all or nothing. :-)

blueiiznh's avatar

As an aside, I had a great bowl of Clam Chowder at Legal Seafood in Boston on Saturday

I was soooooo happy.

ETpro's avatar

@blueiiznh Ah yes, Legal Seafood, Strange name but a Zagat rating of 22. I tasted my first delightful order of Boston Scrod there, and it was heavenly.

JenniferP's avatar

I will only wrestle in clam chowder, not jello.

wundayatta's avatar

Ewwwwww!

JenniferP's avatar

But it has to be cold. I don’t want to get burned or anything.

blueiiznh's avatar

i just came out of the grocery store with a carriage full of oyster crackers

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