Since it is summer, I am reminded of one of my favorite past-times.....Shark Week!
It's difficult to explain but I feel like I can't miss a day of Shark Week on The Discovery Channel every summer. It's not as if the shows are different, they're actually usually the same thing over and over again: "Shark Attacks: Up Close & Personal", "Diving with the Great White", or "Sharks: Predator or Prey?". None of those are actual names of shows, that I know of, but I wouldn't be surprised if all three made the cut.
The thing that makes it hard to explain is that I am absolutely terrified of sharks. Not terrified like "man, sharks sure are scary" but terrified like "are you sure this swimming pool doesn't have a direct link to the ocean?". I can remember when I was a little kid and we would go to the community swimming pool and there was this huge drain at the bottom, just like every pool in the world. Somehow I became convinced that underneath that drain there was a huge shark that the lifeguards let out whenever they wanted (but not the blonde-haired lifeguard I had a crush on.....as a 5-year old). I would jump off the high dive, which was impressive enough for a little kid, then swim as fast as possible to the side ladder. Sometimes, if I timed it just right, I wouldn't even touch the water. I would go so fast that I would literally fly to the side, like that crazy running lizard (I think it's pretty obvious at this point but you should know, I had a pretty big imagination as a child).
Things have improved considerably as I've matured. I can now swim in a pool without a harpoon gun. There is still a problem though involving large bodies of water; lakes, oceans, suspicious-looking puddles. You see, when I can't beneath me it lets my imagination run wild. I've tried to Wakeboard probably 3 or 4 times, never being able to get up. At times it is pretty frustrating but all I can think while I am holding the rope with my feet in the boots is: "how many natural predators live in this lake?", "what just brushed my foot?", "could i strangle a shark with this rope?".
It's an irrational fear of sharks. I know there aren't any sharks in lakes (allegedly...) but there will be just one time, in some freak occurrence, when a salt-water shark eats someone in a fresh-water lake. And you know what, that someone could be me!
I think that's where Shark Week comes in. I try to combat my irrational fear with education. If I know everything there is to know about sharks then when I'm confronted with a crisis situation I'll be able to slip right into survival mode. And if I'm educated enough, then maybe, just maybe, I'll pull a Crocodile Hunter* on the shark and have an awesome pet.
And to think, all this could have been avoided if I hadn't watched Jaws 2 as a child....
*It should be noted that when referring to himself trying to "pull a Crocodile Hunter" the author does not mean the time the Crocodile Hunter was killed by a sting ray but the infinite number of times before that he conquered the untameable beasts of the wild.