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.
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.