Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why I'm Afraid Of Sharks

(Other than the fact that they are the most terrifying thing on this planet.)

I know a lot of people have an irrational phobia to some degree, whether it is spiders, snakes, cherry tomatoes, carnies, etc.  Mine is sharks.  If you've known me for any substantial period of time you already know this about me.  And I'm not just "kind of freaked out by them and would really not like to be in the same room as one," I am completely terrified.  I don't go into the ocean.  I don't swim in lakes.  I avoid boat rides at all cost.  I know better.

When I attempt to trace this phobia back to its root I'm not sure I can pinpoint why exactly I feel so strongly, but I think this might have something to do with it. 

Before I saw the movie "Jaws" (ruined my life, by the way) I talked about seeing the movie "Jaws."  I think I am strangely attracted to things that scare the crap out of's like a game of chicken.  And I always lose.  Always.  I like to see how tough I am and tell myself it's really not that scary, until I haven't slept in a week and look like death.  In any event, during my talking-about-seeing-Jaws phase (I'm thinking I was about 8), I mistakenly ran it by my mother.  Who told me I shouldn't see it.

Because there was a scene in which a little girl with dark curly hair (me) got eaten by a shark (holy crap)...

Through the toilet.

This is what I pictured everytime I tried to pee as a child.

Only the scene would be less cute and pink.  (Spoiler alert, this actually doesn't happen in the movie, my mom was just being a total bitch.)

The fact that I could be eaten through a small opening such as a toilet meant only one thing:

Nothing was safe.  I could be eaten, anywhere.  At any time.

Because there was probably a pool shark.

And a water park shark.

And there was probably a shark waiting for me in my shower.

I even convinced myself that it was possible that a shark could come crashing through my wall and eat me in the middle of the night, because as far as I knew our house had been sucked down to the bottom of the ocean while I was sleeping.

I would like to report that as an adult I am no longer paralyzed by this fear, but that would be a dirty, dirty lie.  When I was 23 I flew to Hawaii to celebrate graduating from college.  All I could think about was the plane crashing into a giant pit of sharks.

Now I'd like to examine and outline for you why being eaten by a shark has to be the worst way to die. 

I.  Inability to reason with the animal that is devouring your body
  • This doesn't really need a whole lot of bullet points, but there is literally nothing you could do.  You cannot ask the giant shark to stop chewing on your torso.  Because he will not listen.  And he will eat you.
II.  You are being eaten alive.
  • I mean really?  Does it get worse?  I guess it does when this sentence becomes past tense and you have been eaten.
III.  You are simultaneously drowning.
  • Chances are if you are being eaten alive, you probably can't touch the bottom of the ocean.  And if you can, well it's pretty damn useless at this point.
  • And don't forget you're still being eaten alive.
  • Drowning while being eaten alive?  No thank you.
IV.  There is a lot of salt water.
  • And it's rushing quickly into your open, gaping wounds.  (Um...ouch?)
  • But it won't even matter I guess cause you'll be dead soon anyway.
  • And you're being eaten alive.
  • And you're still drowning.
  • Also it's probably really, really cold water.
To sum it up, it's the worst.

I'm pretty sure this is a real picture and that shark is about to own her.  She obviously hasn't learned that you don't go into the ocean, ever.  Because when you do, this is what happens.


  1. If you wanted to be logical about, it's 10000x more likely to have a spider under the rim of a toilet seat waiting to pinch your butt, than a shark being down there.

  2. But I'm just would really, really suck.

  3. I was 100% sure there was a killer whale living in the drain at the bottom of my parent's pool. Totally logical.

  4. You should watch the movie 'Open Water'.

    I always thought drowning and burning alive would be the worst deaths. I think with the shark attack you'd have to be diving and then it'd just be they rip part of your body away and you go into shock and black out and then bleed out. Drowning is a complete state of panic that I could not handle and burning alive... no thanks. Maybe if there were a bunch of ravers around me dancing on drugs but otherwise, no.

  5. ok this just scared the crap outa me more thanx!! now im not gonna try to surf and my parents said i could when i went to the beach this year!!!

  6. I know there can't be much that could lessen your fear of sharks, but you probably didn't know that each year, humans kill 40 million sharks, did you?

    Yes, if you couldn't ever think of a worse death than being eaten by a shark, than think again.

    Sharks are becoming endangered due to the shark fin trade and fishing. Sharks are caught, and their dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins are cut off, while they are still very much alive. The sharks are then thrown back into the ocean, where they sink to the bottom and die slowly and alone as they bleed out.

    Every year, 10 people are killed by sharks.
    Every second, 3 sharks are killed by people.

    Sharks really aren't that bad. They attack when provoked. Sharks do not have the ability to brutally and vengefully murder people like in Jaws, that movie is bullshit and had ruined the sharks reputation forever.

    I bet you didn't know that sharks only need to eat once every 3-6 months, and in that time where they are full, they enjoy being pet by divers, and will allow biologists to follow them and swim peacefully along side them. They will sometimes breech out of the water in play, and enjoy the company of other sharks.

    Some sharks, such as the whale shark and basking shark, only eat fish eggs and plankton, and their trachea is far to small to ever swallow a human being, not that they ever would anyway. These sharks are known as gentle giants, and love to make friends with divers and biologists.

    Anyway, just thought I'd help to ease your worries. You are more likely to be killed in a car accident, by a deranged murderer, being attacked by a cow, dog, or bumble bee, and even by a coconut, than a shark.

    And sharks are not the blood thirsty killers. We are. The facts are obviously. 10 people a year -vs- 40 million sharks a year. You be the judge.

  7. 40 MILLION sharks? So, basically, that really increases your odds of being attacked by a shark!! Sorry, but I'm with Morgan!

  8. Actually, if 40 million sharks are being KILLED each year, wouldn't that lower your chances of being attacked???

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  11. By the way just to clarify some of this, haha the sharks that are being caught mainly for fin-soup etc. are not the man eaters - the man-eating sharks are full up with no decline in numbers at all. I went for a trip up to Durban, South Africa and 2 people were killed in the week that I visited family there. Despite the shark nets lining the entire coast shark attacks occur as fequent as ever. More sharks are accidentally caught swimming out to sea than coming in (like 70%). I do a lot of ocean swim races and have suddenly also started having this phobia of sharks, it is really bad because when you are 2km away swimming with people you have never met, lifeguards patrolling but usually about 50 meters away or so and you basically cannot see anything.Having said that New Zealand isn't as notorious for shark attacks as South Africa, Australia, Brazil and the US is. I use to love the ocean but now I'm afraid of it. The reason being last year I was swimming in a private bay with my good mates on New Zealands South Island. I saw a flash which I thought was a shark, it was a seal that kept charging at me and then dodging away everytime just before it got to me, honestly it was frightning, I never realized how big seals get and then you see these 5m great whites just tossing these seals about. Crazy, FML swimming another race in 8 days down in Akaroa - newspaper articles on the web talks of farmers seeing a 5m great white that keeps returning to the headland summer time where I AM SUPPOSE TO BE FREKIN SWIMMING!

  12. I'm so glad I am not alone in this crazy nightmare inducing fear... I get it!!!