I have an absurd fear of sharks. It’s true. I am afraid they are going to drown me or eat me or force me to stare into their cold, dead eyes while they bite off my limbs. I am certain I was eaten by a shark in a past life. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for my irrational fear of the beast known as shark.
Unfortunately, I was forced to watch the movie JAWS as a child and then shortly after I was forced to take swimming lessons. Yeah, that didn’t go over too well. It was at the Navy base in Groton, Connecticut. That’s where I took my swimming lessons. I was told to get right into the water. It was 8 am and freezing cold, every single day. I remember having to use the men’s bathroom because back then they didn’t even have bathrooms for women on the base. That’s weird to think about now, isn’t it? My dad would go in first to make sure it was empty and stand guard outside the door while I went in. Anyway, I was blowing bubbles next to the submarines and sharks, while standing on the rocky, slimy bottom of the ocean for a week, maybe two. That’s pretty much all we did in swim class. The whole time I kept waiting to be eaten by a shark. Well, at least that’s how I remember it. We even had shark drills. Lifeguards blew whistles and waved wildly into the air driving everyone out of the water. That part might have happened in Norfolk, VA, but to be honest, it was all so long ago that I remember it as being all at the same time. The mind is a terrible place to maintain any sense of accuracy. If I ever write a memoir it will probably be torn apart by the book critics as a farce. I’ll be called a loon. A loon who is afraid of sharks. Actually, that might be an apt description of me these days.
Sharks scare me. Sharks scare me even when they are on TV or at the aquarium. While walking under the Shark tank at Sea World I felt a little woozy. What if the tank broke? Would the sharks eat me? I was pretty sure they would. When my husband talks about going fishing or on a cruise ship vacation my first thought is that the boat will sink, much like the Titanic, and that I will promptly be eaten by a shark. There won’t be any dreamy, slow death on a raft for me. No romantic singing or teenage angst ridden love. I will have my legs chewed off by JAWs Junior. I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye, almost as if it had already happened.
My fear is absurd. It also keeps me from doing things like water skiing, surf boarding, or swimming 20 feet from the shore. Deep Sea diving? No thanks. One time in Florida, we were boating, and an alligator swam by. I don’t really like alligators or crocodiles much either. It’s those cold, dead eyes that creep me out. Snakes. Snakes have those eyes too. If I am ever eaten by an animal I want to be something warm-blooded. I don’t want to be drowning while I am being eaten either. There was a reason pools were invented. For one, you can see the bottom from above. No murky water, no slimy, dead-eyed surprises waiting for you in the mud or the seaweed. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sea. I love the beach. I love salt water. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s just, I think it would be better if it wasn’t inhabited by sharks or anything with cold, dead eyes.
Want to hear about my other irrational fears? Check out: Confession Friday: I’m Afraid of The Kitchen Witch.
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