An attack by a great white shark was the big news when I was in New Zealand last month. Everybody was talking about it, and the story was plastered all over the newspapers. I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say the great white shark killed a man around 12:30 p.m. when the man took his last swim.
What caught my eye was an editorial in the New Zealand Weekend Herald written shortly after this tragic episode. The editorial was entitled, “Shark attack no reason to stay out of the water.” Excuse me! Far be it from me to question the views of distinguished editors, especially from another country, but are you kidding me. Of all the reasons in the world why I shouldn’t go into the water, shark attacks would be first on my list. You don’t think for one moment water pollution or jelly fish are going to scare me more than a great white shark.
Now, it is true this attack was the first reported shark attack in New Zealand in over 30 years, but that is a fact, and I don’t let facts interfere with my fear. Ever since Peter Benchley wrote “Jaws” in 1974, I rarely put so much as my toes into the ocean. And if the book weren’t scary enough, Steven Spielberg’s movie “Jaws” certainly was.
I lived in Martha’s Vineyard the summer the movie was made. I saw the mechanical shark beached on land outside the liquor store in Oak Bluffs. And when I saw the movie I realized the fake shark was in the bay not the ocean. Many of the beachgoers in the movie were extras whom I know and they still enjoy the ocean. But not me. I believe if God wanted me to swim in the ocean, I would have been born with gills.
I prefer a swimming pool and better yet, a bathtub—no white sharks there.