Shark Week 2013
You know it’s Shark Week right?
I’m assuming that by now, everyone alive must have seen the “Live Every Week Like It’s Shark Week” slogan on something; a t-shirt, a pillow, whatever. But unlike the other 51 weeks of the year, now we all finally have something to be excited about. It’s your right, your privilege, your responsibility to get PUMPED and treat the next seven days like the gift that they are. See how pumped that bear is? Your level of excitement should reach or exceed that.
We are all terrified of sharks
If you’re not scared of sharks, I’m sorry to say this but you’re an idiot. Go back to school and re-do grades 5-12, because you clearly didn’t learn any of the shit that you need to know to make it as an adult. If you’re not scared of sharks there’s something so fundamentally wrong with your grasp of threat levels and scale that I actually don’t even know if it can be corrected through additional traditional education. Just think about it for a second. You’re swimming in the water, maybe only up to your waist, maybe even a little further out. It’s an awesome day and you’ve already caught a few decent waves. Something triggers your sixth sense, like when you can feel someone staring at you on the subway and you just ignore it because your stop is coming up and you don’t want to make a scene. But you’re in the water, and you can’t just walk away and get off the T, because even in your prime, your stupid fat human body flounders ungracefully like an elderly seal with one flipper and a cognitive disorder in the water. So you just stand there like an idiot and tell yourself it’s nothing. Then the smell of dead fish slams into your nose like a big metal sign that reads “GET OUT OF THE WATER, DUMBASS”. But you still do nothing, because the part of your brain that registers fear and appropriate response is busy crapping itself. Logic can’t explain it because you’re surrounded by water and waves, but everything suddenly gets deathly quiet and a black dorsal fin silently rises above the surface of the water about four feet away from you. You think about that one time that you put your cat in a pillowcase and kind of twirled it around for a little bit for no reason and you hope it’s not enough to secure your position in hell. You try to send a command past the white hot ice in your chest, telling your hands to make fists, but you can’t tell if your hands get the message. You’re not sure if it’s due to your Fight or Flight response, but either way your sphincter is a flicker away from discharging everything that’s inside of you at a moment’s notice. But then a tail fin splashes about five feet away from the dorsal, propelling the nightmare fishbeast away from you, giving your soul, your fists and your butthole a reprieve. With all of the dignity that someone who almost just crapped themself can muster, you turn tail and barrel out of the water like an elderly seal with one flipper and a cognitive disorder.
In case you don’t know I’m describing a personal experience, maybe in a little too much depth. I guess the takeaways are that I am absolutely terrified of sharks and also that things may get messy if I am within arm’s reach of something that can eat me.
But that doesn’t mean that I hate sharks – I respect the HELL out of them.
I do NOT advocate for the overfishing of sharks just for trophies or for the thrill of it. I don’t want to wipe out these magnificent predators any more than I want to see majestic lions killed off. Sharks are terrifying and for good reason, but my own personal horror is far outweighed by the respect I feel for these nightmare fishbeasts. If your emotional development is so retarded (I actually do mean ‘retarded’ as in ‘delayed’, but the slang works just as well here) that your own feelings of fear or uneasiness are enough of a justification for you to want to kill off a certain animal, I hope that animal eats you. It’d be perfect karma, just ask Quint.
Hmmm, Quint will get back to you.
Sharks are smart
Sharks are probably smarter than you think. Yes they’re just animals and yes they’re fish, which are generally typically regarded as less bright than most furry mammals. I don’t know that sharks will ever evolve to a point where they could ever be trained. And maybe that’s a good thing.
We don’t really know how much sharks can learn in a conventional sense, but their sense of instinct, which MUST be what drives them, has gotten them this far along just fine.
If you know anyone who surfs or is in the ocean a lot (lifeguards, maybe Coast Guard, things like that), just ask them and they’ll tell you – sharks are around you in the water all the time. Surfers know this, and they just get used to it. I’ve heard the same thing from multiple people who’ve surfed or had careers where they’re in the water very often, which is that if most people knew how many sharks they were sharing the water with, really close by to them and pretty much every time they went in the ocean, most people wouldn’t go in the ocean. That’s butthole quiveringly scary to me, but it’s true. The reason that we don’t hear about shark attacks every single day in the news is because by and large, sharks seem to understand that we are not food. It’s pretty impossible to definitively state why they don’t attack us more often – maybe they’ve learned over time, or maybe it’s just pure instinct that drives them to not stray from their regular diet unless they’re sick or weak, or old. I guess it could just be that we taste bad, but somehow I doubt that. I’m delicious.
Science loves sharks because as far as we can tell, their evolutionary path has pretty much peaked. If life was a video game, sharks would be characters whose skill points are all maxed out in every category. They’ve been around since around the time of the dinosaurs and they pretty much haven’t changed at all, except in size.
On the other hand, that’s a screenshot from a show they’re gonna play on Shark Week, that investigates the theory that this motherfucker never actually went extinct like we thought and is still alive today. I guess the good news is that when something as big as a building eats you, the chances of you struggling for more than a few seconds are probably pretty low. Even if your best friend was eaten right next to you, you’d probably still never have to encounter the most emotional question ever asked.
Size aside, sharks have been at the top of their game for literally hundreds of thousands of years. They heal from physical injury amazingly fast, they have super senses (sense of smell, underwater radar via their “lateral line“), everyone knows that their mouths are basically tooth factories, we have no idea how old they can even get or ‘if’ they can die of old age, and to the best of our knowledge, they cannot get cancer. Just that last point alone is freaking remarkable, but imagine how far people have to go in evolutionary terms before we can say just one of those things about our own species. I’m not even greedy enough to ask for a disease-free future or immortality; I think I’d honestly just settle for having multiple rows of regenerating teeth. It’s crazy to me just to think that animals like this exist out there right now; I cannot get enough of sharks.
Great White sharks can freaking JUMP out of the water to snag prey that’s above it. R.I.P., Snuffy…
Honoring Sharks on Shark Week
I’m one of the idiots who watched Sharknado, and I regret it. It was so bad I could spend an entire post ranting about it, and I might do that in the future if I get bored. For now though, I’m going to try to push that entire experience out of my mind so that I can focus on Shark Week, and how to honor it properly. So how do we?
Like all holidays, Shark Week is special and only comes around once a year, so when it arrives, treat it with the respect it deserves. Watch at least a show or two every night of Shark Week – odds are you’ll learn something. If you’re a social butterfly and hang out with friends, play one of the many drinking games associated with Shark Week as you watch. Here’s this year’s version:
To whoever made that game, I want to give credit where credit’s due and tell you that looks super fun. Anyone doing anything Wednesday night? I’d play this.
Tuning into the Discovery Channel is usually a good thing all by itself, but when there’s guaranteed shark centric shows on all week and I’ve literally spoonfed you a shark themed drinking game, there’s really no excuse not to. What could you possibly have on your agenda that’s more important? I’ll accept training in a martial art or doing some type of volunteer work, but really not much else.
Finally, there is one last way I can try to honor these nightmare fishbeasts, who I admire and respect, who I am terrified of, who are masters of their domain and who swim with humans side by side, and occasionally bite them.
I can bite back.
For years, it has been my dream to eat a shark steak during Shark Week, preferably while drinking a Landshark Lager, which is probably the only acceptable time to drink one of those.
Year after year, my search for shark at local/Boston area fisheries is a bust. I’m prepared for the facts that it will probably be expensive and also that I have no idea how to prepare a shark steak (apply heat?); these are problems that I would gladly tackle if I could just FIND it for sale somewhere.
One of my friends is in Cali this week and sent me this picture:
Honestly, he was trying to help, but seeing something I’ve wanted to bite into for years so close and yet so far…that’s a special kind of hunger. I want to bite the screen.
I want to feast on fresh shark flesh as I watch dramatic reenactments of nightmare fishbeasts eating humans, and I want to wash it down with a gulp of Landshark Lager, a beverage I would never purchase under normal circumstances.
I want to honor Shark Week, and will do my best to seek out and ingest a shark steak (preferably Mako) and Landshark Lager sometime in the next seven days. Doing so would fulfill a years-long dream for me, which honestly at this point has pretty much evolved into a fullgrown fantasy.
If anyone in the Boston area knows where I can purchase fresh shark steaks, please tell me – email me or leave it in the Comments. If it’s at all feasible, I will find and eat it.
I want to give sharks the honor they deserve. I want to show my respect for Shark Week 2013. Most of all though, I think I just want to bite back.