Shark week came and shark week went.
It has served no great purpose in my life, Shark Week. It has shaped no opinion, provided no great surprises. It is simply a yearly reminder, and solidifier, of something I discovered at a very young age through the general process of growing up in a world where sharks are, somehow, a real thing.
I am terrified of sharks.
While we’re at it: I am terrified of the ocean.
This has been described by many people as an “irrational fear.” I fail to see where these people find comfort in inhospitable (salt ruins any positive traits of the ocean for humans*) waters full of killing machines.
*Salt is amazing on food, but it’s just one more reason to hate the ocean.
More on this: the ocean could not make it more clear that Man should GTFO. It’s not enough that one of Man’s basic needs, oxygen, is unavailable. No, the ocean didn’t stop there; the ocean went ahead and made itself a.) unfathomably vast and deep b.) impossible to traverse by basic human function (every other species finds human “swimming” hilarious) and, oh yeah, c.) LITTERED WITH MONSTERS.
Yes, children, monsters are real. Next time you have a nightmare about the boogeyman under your bed and go running to Mommy, who soothes you with a, “honey, it was just a dream…monsters aren’t real,” I’ll be the guy bursting out of the closet with this picture shouting “OH REALLY? Who’s living in a dream world now?”
Alright, I probably lost you there. So let’s — even though it’s against my better judgement — go ahead and say sharks probably* can’t attack you in your bedroom through the roof of your house. I’ll concede that. Concessions aside, let’s examine the definition** of the word “monster”, keeping sharks in mind.
*I won’t say “definitely”.
** Courtesy of the World’s Most Legitimate Dictionary, dictionary.com.
1. a legendary animal combining features of animal and humanform or having the forms of various animals in combination,as a centaur, griffin, or sphinx.
Well, not a great start here. Um…Sharkman?
2. any creature so ugly or monstrous as to frighten people.
Here we go. Stare into the emotionless, dead eyes of a Great White Shark as it charges you and tell me you don’t piss yourself.
3. any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normalshape, behavior, or character.
Define grotesque. Is it “having weird parasite things growing in your gargantuan mouth that is filled with razor-sharp, self-replacing, several-inch-long teeth?” Yes.
4. a person who excites horror by wickedness, cruelty, etc.
Examples include: parents who let their children swim in Western Australia, friends who recommend SCUBA diving trips, and that dick in Jaws who demands to keep the beach open during tourist season.
5. any animal or thing huge in size.
Sharks = monsters. Sharks = real. Monsters = real.
I can’t stress this enough. THIS THING is actually real. On Earth. Theoretically, you could encounter one. Why are Cliff and I the only ones taking this knowledge seriously? Click the link! Right now. You’re ok with this? The world has just accepted that giant, terrifying killing machines will roam our oceans and that’s that. Every headline of every paper, every day should be “Guys, Can We Talk About How Sharks STILL Exist? And Everyone Is Seemingly OK With This?” We walk around with this knowledge in the back of our minds, floating around with other Troubling Truths We Don’t Talk About like the realization of our finite existence, self-conscious thoughts about personal image, insecurities about one’s own character, the American slide toward mediocrity, the continuing popularity of Nickelback, Brangelina*.
*Unfortunately, we actually talk about this all the time.
Let’s pose a question. Which would you rather be blissfully ignorant of: the crushing knowledge that everything about your existence is a fruitless, ultimately pointless exercise in the pursuit of a meaning that doesn’t exist, OR the overwhelming terror that is the world’s most efficient killing machine? It’s clear which harsh truth I’m struggling with*, and it involves razor-sharp teeth in gaping maws, not Nietzsche or weird Radiohead lyrics.
*You haven’t seen any weird existential essays from me…yet…
Back to the point: monsters exist in the world. And yet, we keep sending acclaimed filmmakers into the depths of the ocean, despite more “STAY OUT” signs than the crazy neighbor I have with “No Trespassing” spray-painted on his driveway.
If sharks alone don’t serve as a large enough “STOP” sign for humans with thoughts of entering the ocean, the old girl’s got a couple of other tricks up her sleeve. How about you ask Steve Irwin about Stingrays? Ever heard of a Needlefish? How about a Portuguese Man-of-War? Oh, don’t be fooled by the name; it’s not really Portuguese. It will however, wage war on your face with “Long, blue, threadlike tentacles” that just happen to be poisonous. Don’t forget the Jellyfish sting potent enough to KILL 60 HUMANS IN A PERIOD OF THREE MINUTES. And I haven’t even mentioned the CRAZY, EYELESS MUTANT THINGS IN THE EXTREME DEPTHS WITH WEIRD LIGHTS DANGLING IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES! HAVE I DRIVEN THIS POINT HOME HARD ENOUGH WITH THE CAPS YET? Click this link for a good old-fashioned horror show.
I know some of you love the ocean. I know some of you think I’m just a crazy, nature-hating fearmonger. Defend this. Read every revolting word of that article and then defend the ocean. Seriously. I want to hear it. As for me, that’s the final straw. I’m out.
So, hey, Ocean, let’s just stop pretending to be friends. Fuck off with your inviting, beautiful views and calm, lapping waves — your irresponsible masquerade as a tranquil place. And I’ll quit pretending that I, as a human being, have any goddamn business being involved with you whatsoever.
Send me into outer fucking space, just keep me out of the ocean.