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Sharks are Scary, but…

3 Aug

I get REALLY excited about Shark Week.  I can’t wait to watch the new shows and to watch some of my old favorites.  Occasionally I step back and think, “Why is Shark Week such a cultural phenomenon?  Why do we all get so worked up about it?  What do we gain from Shark Week?”  My answer: “Who cares?  Shark Week is AWESOME.”

Photo credit: entertainment.ezinemark.com

To me, the ocean is one of the most interesting and petrifying things on our planet.  It’s just TOO BIG.  It covers 71% of the earth’s surface.  That’s insane.  And we don’t even know how deep the ocean is.  The deepest known point in the ocean is in the Mariana Trench at around 6.78 miles.  In the grand scheme of things, humans still know very little about the ocean and its creatures; this intrigues me.

I said the ocean is both “interesting” and “petrifying”.  Yes, I am petrified of the ocean.  One of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen is The Perfect Storm.

Photo credit: currentfilm.com

That movie and the television show Deadliest Catch are my ninth circle of H-E-double-hockey-sticks.  When I think about cold, deep water, I go a little numb.

Back to Shark Week:  I think one of the main reasons I love to watch these shows is because I truly believe that sharks are misunderstood.  I don’t think they’re mean; I think they’re just REALLY hungry all the time and have a lot of testosterone.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t plan to go swim with them, but they really aren’t the scariest things in the ocean to me.

The creatures I am most afraid of in the ocean are whales.  Yep.  Whales.  When I say whales, I’m including killer whales/Orca which are really related to dolphins.  I know that some of my fears are silly, but I believe some are valid.  The fear I have of Blue Whales isn’t really rational.  Just like the ocean, I think Blue Whales are just TOO BIG.  No creature on earth should be that big.  Anything that can swallow a human whole is too big.  The person is this photo is NUTTY.

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

The rationale behind my fear of killer whales is much more reasonable.  Everyone loves Shamu.  Not me.  Shamu is a killing machine.  Killer whales will attack and kill almost anything.  They’ve been known to eat sharks, rays, seals, fish, birds, and of course, other whales.  They were once called “whale killers” but at some point the words were switched.  They often hunt in a pack which has earned them the title of “wolves of the sea”.  They even play with their food.  I was amazed/disturbed the first time I saw this video.

If the Discovery Channel really wants to give me nightmares, they should move on from this Shark Week stuff and have a “Whale Week”.  It would be interesting, alliterative, and terrifying.  Can we all agree that a Whale Week would be fantastic?