Aug 2, 2010

Shark Week(end)

One of my sillier fears is the one I have about swimming in the ocean. Or the bay. Or a lake. Pretty much any body of water that contains any kind of fishies swimming below the surface. I just don't feel comfortable knowing that something is down there...maybe waiting to attack. But swimming in the ocean is really where this phobia kicks into full-gear.

Maybe it's because Jaws came out in 1975 when I was 8. Just around the time that I was supposed to be enjoying my summers on Long Island. Swimming in the ocean that summer was just ridiculous. All someone had to do was yell "Jaws!!!" and we kids would run terrified out of the waves.

I forget exactly which comedian told this joke, but I've always remembered it. He said that it really didn't matter whether it was a great white shark or a 2-inch piece of seaweed...he's running out the the water like a scared child either way. That's me.

I've read everything there is to know about sharks and shark attacks, and I know the odds of being the victim of a shark attack are slim to none. Doesn't matter. I calmly explain that MY chance of getting attacked by a shark is 0.00%. Because I just don't go swimming in the ocean.

But that's not exactly true. I usually run into the water and dive under a wave before running back to shore at least once when I go to the beach. I'll stand there with the waves lapping at my ankles before I spot the perfect, most innocent looking wave to dive under. It all lasts about 15 seconds and I'm done. Happy to have oh-so-briefly conquered that little fear. 

So on Sunday, while at the beach with Gia, my sister and my brother-in-law, I went for my little victory dive into the ocean. Now, everyone knows about my stupid phobia. So it was with a chuckle that I walked up to the waves as my brother-in-law said "watch out for the sharks". Hehehe....right.

So I'm standing there, knee-deep in the water looking for the perfect wave when I hear a whistle blowing. Haha...very funny. I get it. Shark in the water. Not falling for that one. Then I look to my right and I see everyone running out of the water with some urgency. I turn around and the lifeguard is pointing right at me telling me to get out of the water. Which I promptly do.

It takes me a second to spot it, but about twenty yards away near a sandbar I spot the tell-tale black fin. Looked pretty big from my vantage on shore too. Now I had heard of a few beaches closed on Cape Cod in Massachusetts the week before due to shark sightings, but I had never been on a beach on Long Island that was ever closed because of sharks. But there we were.

And the beach remained closed to swimmers for the next two hours as well. The Coast Guard and the local police had helicopters running up and down the beach looking to confirm that the shark or sharks had split. I dunno if they ever let anyone back in the water, because we left to get some food.

There was talk of it maybe being a sunfish, but the dorsal fin wasn't flipping back and forth in a lazy manner like they do. It was cutting through the waves fairly straight-forward. And one of the lifeguards claimed to have gotten a pretty good look at it. The water was nice and clear yesterday. He said it was really big and slow-moving, so the talk was that it was maybe a basking shark. A filter-feeder and harmless to swimmers. Fairly common in the waters off of Long Island, but I don't know if they often swim in the shallows like this one was.

Who knows? All I know is that only I can have one my infrequent battles with my shark phobia interrupted by an actual fucking shark!

Shit like that just doesn't happen to anyone else! Ugh.

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Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. You people in Florida aren't allowed to make fun of me because you swim with sharks all the time.  I can't help it if you are stupid.

23 comments:

Avitable said...

Come on down to New Smyrna Beach, where it's the shark capital of the US, and see how you feel!

B.E. Earl said...

Avitable - I've seen enough video of the sharks in the water at New Smyrna Beach, thank you very much. And I said you people from Florida weren't allowed to make fun of me!!!

Mrs. Hall said...

it's called the law of attraction Earl!

LAW OF ATTRACTION!

iffn you put all sorts of irrational fear of sharks, this brings them to you.

Paticus said...

Earl-Yikes!! I was not quite 5 when JAWS came out, and I remember being terrified by the poster when I saw it walking past the movie house down on the Jersey Shore...No swimming for me that summer.
Robert Schimmel has a great shark joke(which I will paraphrase)- "They say if you have an encounter with a shark, you are supposed to punch it in the nose...Yeah, and when that doesn't work, then you can poke it in the eye with your stump!"
Oh, and I must add the obligatory-"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

RW said...

I'm the only person on Earth who sinks in salt water. So I'll stay on land right too if that's okay with you.

B.E. Earl said...

Holly - did you just call my very real fear irrational? HOW DARE YOU?!?!? ;)

Paticus - Nice...I've heard that Schimmel joke before, but I'd forgotten it.

B.E. Earl said...

RW - Fine with me, but what about the sharks?

white rabbit said...

Probably best to have 'this human tastes disgusting' embroidered on your swimming trunks...

Should put off any literate shark.

Problem solved :D

B.E. Earl said...

Wabbit - I don't know if I could lie like that. I've been told by many a female that I'm simply delicious!

Cissa Fireheart said...

Well you know Yesterday WAS the beginning of shark week on Discovery Channel....maybe they just were doing PR? heh.

B.E. Earl said...

Cissa - Shark Week is my favorite week of the year! I love those programs!

Slyde said...

once in the bahamas i almost got stung by a man-o-war... does that count?

B.E. Earl said...

Slyde - Yikes! Just being in the water with a big ole jellyfish like that is scary enough. So yeah...counts.

white rabbit said...

Earl re your reply.

Um rightyyyyy...

wv: slity

downtown guy said...

I'd be just as freaked out by running up against a sunfish, I think. Those brutes are massive.

http://dreamslikethat.blogspot.com/2010/04/enormous-sunfish.html?zx=e10abfaac90938a1

B.E. Earl said...

Wabbit - :)

Hank - Hell yeah! But like I said, it doesn't matter the size of the fish rubbing up against me. I hate them all. Except on a plate with some butter and lemon.

Heff said...

Yeah, "JAWS" fucked me up too, lol !

sybil law said...

Jaws scared soooo many of us, but not me - not enough to stay out of the ocean, anyway. Ocean water makes my hair look fabulous.

B.E. Earl said...

Heff - it happens to even the most metal of us.

Sybil - Mine too, but I'm a bit of a pansy otherwise.

Always Home and Uncool said...

Never mind sharks. It's the piranha you should worry about.

B.E. Earl said...

Uncool - in 3D!!!

savannah said...

my bottomline re: sharks is they don't visit me, so i don't visit them! i so feel y'all on this one, sugar! xoxox

Nej said...

My hubby always tells me that people are crunchy, and sharks don't like crunchy. Somehow that just doesn't make me feel any better. I mean, they have to crunch into you to find out you're crunchy, right?? (hehe) :-)