Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I recently watched a youtube video of an 18 foot great white shark that was slowly circling an 18 foot fishing boat. It was a modern fishing boat, with all the fancy amenities required for sport fishing. It had radios, sonar, and a shiny chrome throttle that theoretically would speed one away from deadly predators.

The passengers leaned over the edge to get a closer look, and to marvel at the shark's arrival. "Why do you think he's circling the boat", on passenger asks. "How big is it", asks another. "What kind of shark is that", asks a third. Everyone is talking at the same time. Great interest ensued, and everyone was clearly excited.

Nobody said, "Let's get the fuck out of here".

There  they were, miles out in the ocean in an 18 foot piece of fiberglass, probably ¼ of an inch thick, and only 10 feet away from the deadliest predator on the planet. Yet they had no concern for their safety. Perhaps it was thrilling to be close to something so convincingly powerful. But in the end the shark was simply a special effect… it wasn't real… it was an tourist spectacle… something to relate back to memories of hapless animals existing subservient to humans… humans who protect themselves not with teeth, but with clever boats with shiny chrome handles.

But what happens when the motor won't start? What happens when the shiny chrome handle get's stuck? What happens when that ¼ inch of high-tech fiberglass hull somehow cracks, and the blue-green seawater… once so beautiful… starts to stream into around your feet, dark and cold then? What happens when the pit in your stomach arrives, and the adrenaline hits your bloodstream. Will you ask what the shark is doing there then?

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