My Week 182: Shark Week

OK, so this week has been pretty quiet. Not boring, per se, but nothing super-interesting happened, and at around midnight last night, I had nothing in mind to write about. Then, just as I was drifting off to sleep, a voice in my head said, “Sharks are so cool.” And then I woke Ken up and said, “In the morning, remind me that I need to write about sharks.” He was like, “Sharks. Right.” But then I wrote it down myself because I knew he wouldn’t remember; in fact, I just asked him a minute ago to remind me what I told him last night and he said, “Glass. You were going to write about glass.” Unfortunately, I am nowhere near as obsessed with glass as I am with sharks. And I know that sounds weird, living nowhere near an ocean as I do, but I’ve had a thing for sharks ever since I was little and we were in England, where we watched some fishermen inspect their haul and throw all the dogfish back in the water.

“What are those?” I asked. “They’re so CUTE!”

“They’re dogfish,” my mother said. “They’re like tiny sharks.”

And I was like, if this is how adorable a TINY shark is, imagine how majorly awesome a HUGE shark would be!! So this week, in honour of sharks, here are my top 5 Shark Moments, in chronological order:

1) When I was around 9, my grandmother offered to take me to the movies in another city, which involved a very long bus trip. This was in the days when the cinemas were on Main Street instead of in a strip mall or a ‘cineplex’. When we got there, there were two movie theatres on the same block. One was playing “Blazing Saddles”, the G rated comedy she was SUPPOSED to take me to see. The other theatre was playing “Jaws”. I begged her instead to take me to see “Jaws”, although I didn’t have to try to hard—my gran was one of those ‘laissez-faire’ English people, and her response was “Whatevs. Don’t tell yer mam.” If you’ve ever seen “Jaws”, you’ll know that by the end of the first minute, I was absolutely terrified. But after a little while, the terror turned into fascination, and by the end of the movie, I was kind of cheering for the shark, especially after that woman slapped Sheriff Brody, and I was like, “It’s not his fault—maybe you shouldn’t have let your kid swim in shark-infested waters—it’s not like he didn’t TRY to tell you all. And don’t be blaming the shark—he’s just doing what sharks DO.” By the time the movie finished, when the shark makes its first real appearance, I was in love. Later that week, I saw in the TV guide that there was a movie on about a shark, and I begged my mom to stay up late and watch it. She couldn’t understand why, and I get her point, because it was all about gangsters.

Me: When will we see the shark?
Mom: What shark?
Me: The movie is about a lone shark. Like Jaws.
Mom: (laughing) Uh no—it’s about a ‘loan shark’. That’s a man you borrow money from, and if you don’t pay him back, he breaks your legs.
Me: What?! I’m going to bed.

2) The next year, when I was 10, my brother and I were absolutely fanatical about this novelty record that had just been released called “Santa Jaws”. It was a collection of Christmas carols, all rewritten to include sharks. Our favourite was “God rest ye merry gentlemen/You’re not so merry now./The seaside signs said not to swim/But you swam anyhow.” It was brilliant. I just looked it up, and you can listen to it on Youtube (here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELZGHmrF9pA )

3) When T was little, I somehow transferred my love of sharks to him. When he was about 5, he had his heart set on dressing up like a shark for Hallowe’en. But try finding a shark costume anywhere—apparently the costume people think it’s OK to dress up like vampires, zombies, or culturally inappropriate Indigenous princesses, but sharks? They’re just too scary. The best I could do was find a dolphin costume, to whose mouth I stapled sharp, cardboard teeth. T was only 5, so he didn’t know any different, but I was like, “Aw man—that dorsal fin is all wrong. I hope the other kids don’t make fun of him.” He still got lots of candy, despite the dorsal fin debacle, and I was a very proud shark-mama.

4) A few years ago, I bought myself a shark puppet. It was on sale at the local store, and I brought it home and named it Marcelle. Whenever Titus was getting too hyper, I would put it on and speak to him in a deep, sharky voice:

Titus: There’s food! Food on the coffeetable! This is the best day ever—wheeee!!!
Marcelle: SIT DOWN.
Titus: Whuh—who are you?
Marcelle: I’m your worst nightmare. It’s time to be a good boy. Now, SIT!
Titus: (sitting) I don’t think this is ecologically accurate—
Marcelle: No food for you!

Eventually, I gave Marcelle to a colleague’s little boy. He was just too hard on Titus.

5) I saw Sharkwater, that documentary about sharks, and it made me cry. Then, last year, I went with my parents to Turks and Caicos, and my dad and I went snorkelling. The tour took us out to a place called Stingray Cove, where they had a lot of little stingrays that for some reason, they wanted you to hold and kiss. So we did, but at one point, the tour guide yelled, “Shark!” And I was like “Ooh, where?!”  Turns out they were small lemon sharks, who grow quite big and can be very aggressive towards stingrays. I thought it was the best thing ever, but the tourguides were all upset because they make their livelihood taking people out to kiss the stingrays, and didn’t want the sharks to hurt them. So there I was, standing waistdeep in water with my underwater camera, trying to get a picture of a shark, with these local guys all yelling at me to ‘Get out of the water!’ and ‘Stop encouraging the sharks!’  and ‘You’re going to get bit, crazy Canadian lady!’ I DID get a blurry picture of one of them before it suddenly occurred to me that, despite my tremendous sympathy for them, a shark might not know the difference between my leg and a stingray. And they already have a bad enough name without the headline “Ungrateful shark eats Canadian shark ally.”

Anyway, there you have it. Sharks. Because glass is dumb.

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28 thoughts on “My Week 182: Shark Week

  1. There once was a Saturday morning show… (a cartoon but real people) about a family that lived on a sailboat. They had stopped at a resort in Hawaii and were swimming in the pool. Why? I don’t know. Somehow, a shark came through the over splash thingy on the side of the pool and tried to eat the swimmers ‘terror’… then the shark got away back through the over splash thingy. I’m afraid of swimming pools to this day. Jaws. Best movie ever! Not afraid of the ocean. It’s perception really isn’t it? I had a toy shark on a pole, you could squeeze the handle and make it’s mouth open and close. I didn’t name him. I’ll always regret that….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always had a ‘thing’ about sharks. It’s a complex thing: fear, fascination, terror, awe, wonder. I love the way they look, so streamlined and almost plane-like. Even as a small kid I thought they were scary cool (eating people in the Bond film, Thunderball, etc.) but my first visceral emotion came when I read a British kids’ comic called Action. It had stories in that basically ripped off movies of the day such as Dirty Harry and one of them was about an enormous Great White (so enormous that it was almost Megalodon size) that had a fish hook protruding from its throat. The art was graphic and sometimes in full colour. “Hook Jaw” was, to a 8 year old boy, absolutely terrifying. And I couldn’t put it down. This would have been about 1976, a year after Jaws was released. I didn’t get to see the actual film until it was shown on TV in about 1977-78 and it scared the bejesus out of me. In the mid 80s I went swimming in the Med, somehow convinced that there were no big sharks there, but still was a bit apprehensive of big clumps of weed a few metres beneath me. Imagine how I felt when I heard later that there were Great Whites in the Mediterranean.
    Check out the wonderful art: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=“hook+jaw”&tbm=isch
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. An interesting thing about Jaws the book is that Peter Benchley has said if he knew then what he now knows about sharks he never would have written it. An interesting thing about sharks is that some divers will say if a shark comes close you should punch it in the nose, but this is really a bad idea. If you punch a shark in the nose as it swims by it’s going to stop and say, “Hey, what was that for? I wasn’t going to attack you or anything but now I have to. Otherwise it would look bad to the other sharks.”

    Like

  4. I’d be hard-pressed to name a movie — a pop-cultural phenomenon — that affected an entire generation the way Jaws did. I mean, sure, we all love Star Wars (and God knows we’ll never stop making more of them!), but Jaws created such a generational fear of/fascination with sharks that persists to this day, over forty years later. It’s such a great story, too, and that they filmed it out on the Atlantic where it actually took place, versus doing it in the “lake” on the Universal backlot, has certainly contributed to its timelessness and continued cultural relevance.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You did so much better than I did watching Jaws in the movie theater. I was about six years old and I BEGGED my parents to take me to see Jaws. They really didn’t want to take me, but they did. I didn’t even make it long enough to see what the shark looked like. The first round of menacing shark music was enough for me. I ran screaming from that movie theater.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, poor thing! I would have run screaming too, but my gran was like “Sit down! You’re the one who wanted to see it!” In retrospect, I’m glad I stayed–otherwise, I would never have fallen in love with sharks:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I owned an 8-track of the Jaws soundtrack. That may be one of the more humiliating musically-themed sentences ever written. The Jaws theme is killer (ba-dum-pum), seriously one of the most identifiable themes of all time, but the rest is just a waste of plastic casing, which even middle school me recognized. GET OUT OF THE WATER! You saw the film, you know it won’t end well for you!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow! You’re such a shark fan 😀 I never saw any shark in real life, only on TVs, and I don’t think I would ever want to because after seeing the movie Shallows and Jaws of course I really became terrified of sharks. >_<

    Liked by 1 person

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