Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Beware of Shark-Infested Waters?

I just Googled "shark-infested" and got well over 100,000 hits.  I checked every one of them.  (Lie, of course.)  But many of them deal with folks who have ventured into the ocean and found themselves consumed or nearly consumed or nearly nearly consumed by the sharks infesting the waters.

Just look at some of these headlines--and some video links, as well:

1. "Naked Fisherman Rescued from Shark-Infested Waters": Naked Fisherman

2. "Golfers Brave Shark-Infested Course": Brave Golfers

3. "Forbes Lists Most Shark-Infested Beaches": Forbes List

4. "Abducted Penguin Rescued from Shark-Infested Waters": Penguin Rescue

5. "Penny Palfrey Ends Her Shark-Infested Swim": Penny Ends Swim

And let me say one thing here: My Shark Credentials are in very good order.  I read Peter Benchley's Jaws when it came out in 1974.  (I have a first printing, too.)  With my eighth graders I used Benchley's description of the creature as a model for descriptive writing.  I actually read Jaws II (I'm not bragging, just saying).  I saw all the Jaws movies, including Jaws III-D, which is right down there with the worst films in the history of light.

The first Jaws movie (1975) even introduced a little ... friction ... in the family dynamic.  We were in Massachusetts, visiting my two brothers.  Older brother, Richard, was then the music critic for the Boston Globe and had gotten all of us seats at a BSO Tanglewood concert.  My younger brother (Dave) and I decided we had time to see Jaws before we headed over to Tanglewood.

We were wrong.

We got to Tanglewood in time for intermission.  And found our older brother a little incredulous about our lies (car trouble) and more than a bit annoyed when he learned the truth (which emerged in injudicious laughter a few moments after the lies).  And now--nearly 40 years later--Dave and I still find the incident far more amusing that Richard does.

But now I want to write in defense of sharks and our intemperate shark language: There is no such thing as "shark-infested waters."  Sharks belong in the ocean, in whatever numbers and in whatever mood they wish.  We don't live there ... well, not recently, anyhow.  It is we who are "infesting" the waters.  A more accurate headline: People Infest Sharks' Home; Sharks Enjoy Take-Out.

There is also no such thing as a feeding frenzy.  They're just eating, the way they always have.  (If you want to see a real feeding frenzy, go to a Tribe game--or some all-you-can-eat buffet--and watch people.)

Now, if a shark came into my house (remember the Land Shark on the old SNL?), then I could talk about a "shark-infested house."  (Land Shark Video)

But "shark-infested waters"?  Now, that's just pure prejudice.  Anti-sharkism of the highest order.

1 comment:

  1. It was about two years ago that I had an encounter with a shark. It was NOT at the aquarium .... As my shop is at the beach and I have always loved the ocean swimming is my mental health break. One night I had worked late on some stuff at the shop and was mentally burnt out. I thought I would check out the ocean for a bit, so, at 10:30 pm I decided to go for a swim. The ocean was as flat and calm as a billiard tables felt and looked beautiful in the light of a full moon. So, in I go. I was just relaxing, floating on my back about 300 feet off shore, enjoying the solitude of the sea and the moment in general. then I saw it, about 50 feet away , something breaking the surface and coming in my direction.... WTF? I floated there as calmly as I could watching this disruption to my revelry approach my spot at a leisurely but steady pace. It was about then that I realized that this is a dorsal fin of a pretty BIG something... I started to get kinda nervous about then , looking at the expanse of water between myself and the safety of the beach. Then I saw the swirl of water about 7 feet behind the dorsal fin... Well I guess if you're going to be somethings dinner it's best if it's big enough to make a quick snack of you. I did the only thing that I could , I went totally still and tried with all of my ability to stay calm and control my bodily functions so as not to disturb the water or it's smell.At about 5 feet this approximately 12 foot long black tip shark started to circle me... Around me he went four laps worth , I guess he was trying to see if I was worth eating. Then this creature just lost interest and swam off to the north... I watched until he was out of sight and then , very quietly, swam back to the beach. I guess sharks need to , or prefer to have their prey exhibit some life before they become a meal. I am thankful that he didn't bump me as sharks skin is like sand paper and will draw blood. Then I would not be here to make this pitiful attempt to relate the experience. Yes I still swim as before , and just as far off shore as always. I have respect for the ocean and all of her creatures , but, I have no fear of them. All things have their seasons and when they come to an end is out of our control . so, live each day as if it may be your last, follow your hearts and dreams to the best of your ability . Because you just never know...