Saturday, August 05, 2006

Jaws, the Raccoon, and the Mighty Kraken

So Shark Week 2006 is over. In the short span of a week, I've restructured, intensified, and ever-so-slightly re-formed my quite-rational fears of swimming in the ocean (fears first formed while watching Jaws at six - so deep-seated were my fears that swimming alone in our pool frightened me). Sure we humans kill millions of sharks a year. But the real questions are, "Do sharks know this fact?" and, "Are they going to exact vengeange upon me?" Important questions as we wade into waters, even waist deep, that are filled with sharks big enough to rip your limbs off of you - to drag you out into the ocean for some Sue-shi or Scott-shi or You-shi.

Granted, when I go to the ocean, I swim. No matter how murky the water, or how close to the pier, I swim. This past beach trip, however, I swam in the ocean only twice. First, because the beach house had its own pool and watching the Raccoon try to swim in the pool beat the ocean hands down.

Digression: The Raccoon is crazy aquatic. He's two and he'd jump into the water whether or not I was looking or even around. He'd push my hands away from him and try to dog paddle while holding squirt guns and squeeze toys in his hands. By the end of the week, he was able to swim from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end and back by himself (with a noodle). Pretty good for two. The fearlessness with the water surprised me. I'd like to say it's because he trusts me intrinsically, but I fear it's because there's something wrong with his instinct toward self-preservation. I'm wondering if the Raccoon will be BASE jumping from the garage when he's four.

The second reason I stuck to the pool was because the ocean was freezing for most of the week (Sand = 150°F, Water = 25°F). The only reason there weren't floes of ice in the ocean, I imagine, was due to its eye-ball-scalding salinity. The pool on the other hand was warm as a bathtub (there were, after all, twelve kids swimming in it).

And the third reason, I get out to the ocean more than I ever have before since my in-laws live in Virginia Beach. It no longer has the basic attraction of a once-per-every-couple-of-years event.

So sharks do not keep me out of the ocean, though they probably ought to. I figure if I ever am attacked by a shark, which is probable given their love of blubbery animals, and if I survive said attack, then what a story! I'm considering chumming myself. I could be on Shark Week someday talking about how I bear no animosity toward the mindless killing machine that attacked me and that I was aware of the risk I was taking wading into the bastard's backyard. Mea culpa.

And finally, tonight, I got to see the first pictures ever taken of a giant squid. Very cool. They brought the tentacle up on the hook, which the monster had ripped off of its own body in order to be free of the hook, and the giant tentacle, though detached, was still moving and the toothy suckers were still suckering. I can't muster up fears of the mighty Kraken the same way I can my shark fears though. If the monsters came nearer the surface and started attacking boats and people again, well maybe then.

No comments: