Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Shark

A news story today… "A swimmer has lost his legs after being attacked by a great white shark in South Africa. The 42-year-old man, who ignored warnings to stay out of the water at a beach near Cape Town, entered the ocean 90 minutes after the shark had been spotted and the beach closed. The man, believed to be British, has been airlifted to hospital for treatment."

I don’t know what to focus on first on this news story. I have seen the British on vacation. Something I can tell you with great certainty is the man that went in the water after being warned about a Great White was shitfaced. How do I know this? Because every single time I have seen an English guy walking around a tourist area, he has been staggering drunk and ready to mix it up with locals, in this case a 16 foot killing machine that is the top of the ocean food chain. This should come as no surprise to anyone that has ever been in Amsterdam. Lay the story out to any prostitute in the Red Light District. “Oh, a British guy dove in the water on holiday when he was directly warned about a giant man eating shark? Sure, I could see that. Probably the same pasty guy that barfed on his Manchester United jersey after I gave him a golden shower last summer.” It’s a fucking Great White Shark, right?

Now, you would have to feel pretty stupid as you wheel your way around London in your wheelchair for the next 35 years. “No luv, I wasn’t in the war. Shark attack. Well, what happened was I was directly told not to jump into the water, as there was a giant angry two-ton creature with razor sharp teeth that was very hungry. I was really drunk though, and figured that the locals were trying to pull one over on me. I mean, I paid good money for this vacation, and I was not going to be told what to do on MY vacation. So I hopped in the water and had a go! Boy did I have egg on my face when he chewed my legs off! Bloody good crying about it now, eh? Spare a pound for a good bloke?” or some such nonsense.

Still, I identify with the guy. I was in Cancun one time, all cranked up on “all inclusive” Mexican beer and well tequila. I was swimming around the ocean, way the hell out there as I usually do. (I am of the opinion I am a much stronger swimmer than I actually am, which will explain my tragic early death in a kayaking accident in the next few years.) While I was lazily backstroking around, I hear a whistle and see a little Mexican lifeguard jumping around the beach like a monkey. Hmmm. Everyone is getting out of the water. What’s the issue here?

I look behind me about 40 yards and see a dorsal fin clipping towards my general direction. The thing is, I’m so buzzed up from drinking in the sun, I am nowhere near a state of panic. “Hey man, that shark isn’t going to hurt me man. They are more afraid of me than I am of them. I wonder if I brought any Donovan records on my iPod?”, I thought as I casually backstroked into the beach. I was in no particular hurry, still, I thought I’d pacify the silly lifeguard, and the crowd on the beach and come on in. It was probably a 6-8 foot shark of no real danger to me (I guess). The way my girlfriend and other hotel guests went on about it, you’d thought I had just out swum Jaws. I was so mellowed out; I laughed it off and went to the bar.


Now if someone had told me there was a 16-foot Great White out there (which is roughly the width of a Volkswagen), I’d have said “See you at the swim up bar Pedro, I’m all about the pool”. But then again, I’m not British and on vacation.


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