Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jaws: The Sharky Beginning

I remember the day it all began. My parents were pretty strict about what movies I could watch when I was young because I was their first child and a huge wimp. My mother once had to make up some magical powers about a teddy bear that I could squeeze to make myself invisible to bad guys because I refused to sleep after sneaking out into the living room and seeing a scene in a Sherlock Holmes episode where a guy is killed in a very unscary way. But still! Death! Murder! I was a huge baby! (I've since gotten over that and love scary movies (even if I do watch them through my fingers sometimes) as well as Sherlock Holmes. But I digress. Back to the sharks!) My dad loves movies and scary movies in particular; he would get really excited when he felt I was old enough to handle the next level of scary movies. On this fateful day, I was home from school with a cold or the flu and my dad had the day off. He asked me if I wanted to watch a movie and when I said yes he got out The Book. (side note: My dad loves movies so much that he has a book that lists each movie he owns in various lists sorted by title, genre, and actor. Why all this work, you might be asking. Because my parents have so many movies that they are numbered and stored in rubbermade drawers in a closet and it is impossible to find the one you want without The Book. I have bolded and italisized this so that you know what kind of crazies I come from. Not all of my collecting and OCD organizing tendencies are my fault.) He flipped through The Book and asked me if I wanted to watch something scary, which of course I did because I wanted to impress my dad. I remember the excitement in my dad's eyes when he asked me, "Do you want to watch Jaws?"

My dad lay down on the couch and I sat behind him with my legs dangling down over his. The movie started. The first attack happened. I tucked my legs behind dad just in case a shark could somehow sneak into the living room and sat transfixed for the rest of the movie. Jaws was the perfect scary movie for me because I could be terrified of the shark without having to worry about it actually getting me (despite my unwillingness to dangle my legs), unlike other monsters who could (in my imagination) creep around my bedroom as soon as my parents said good night. Free of any impending attack, I was able to appreciate how totally rad that shark was: sharks are real which ups the scary factor over something like vampires or Frankenstein's monster. They are real and fit into an ecosystem and are a reminder that nature can still mess humans up even though we've done so much to control our environment and protect ourselves. And they just look awesome, like torpedoes with teeth and black eyes.

And so my love of and fascination with sharks was born.

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