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.
___________________________________________________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.