Last week was “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. They do this about twice a year. And when a varied assortment of seals had been killed and the one-armed surfers had told their stories and when all of the research had been discussed, the findings were about the same as they have been for many years.
In essence, sharks are big, come in several flavors, and they will eat you if they are hungry and you are where they are.
And noticeably, people who don’t go where they are don’t get attacked. There are no shark attacks at all reported in Kansas.
Apparently a lot of people are fascinated by sharks. I am not.
I’m also not fascinated with grizzly bears and Burmese pythons. I do like to know where they are, however, so I can be somewhere else. It’s just one of my quirks.
But because there was very little else to watch, I did snooze through a couple of these episodes.
It is speculated that surfers are sometimes attacked because from the bottom up, they may resemble a seal or a sea lion.
The researchers did not say what might happen if they resembled a large moon pie. I don’t think they make surf boards in that shape, but if you were adrift in a large John Deere inner tube, maybe this information could have relevance. I dunno.
Researchers often test the pounds-per-square-inch biting power of a shark. Given that they can just smack their lips and cut a person in half, I’m not real sure why knowing anything beyond that really matters.
And quite often, they will tag sharks with radio monitors so they can follow them. As a result, they can say, “Right now he’s over here. And now he’s over there. Oops, here he comes again.” Ooops!
In these many hours of programming, some time was devoted to anti-shark devices. Let me go back and say that the “Kansas factor” is probably the best anti-shark device going. They have experimented with magnetic fields, sound devices, chemicals and even shark-proof suits.
Now right off, I would not put much faith in a shark-proof suit. Just because a shark couldn’t tear into a particular fabric doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t pour you out of it like jelly if in fact the beast gnawed on you a while.
They say one of the major atrocities in all of sharkdom is that in Asia they get harvested just for their fins. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy. The rest of the shark is dumped in the brink. I can agree it’s an atrocity. And to do my part, I vow never to eat shark fin soup.
In fact, I’ll make that a New Years resolution way out in front. It may be difficult to say “no” to shark fin soup should I ever drop by Tokyo, but I’ve always had strong will power about some things. I will apply that mind-over-matter thing. I’m not sure I can break a 2-by-4 with it, but I think I can put on a pair of white pajamas, yell “hyyy yyyah!” and refuse shark fin soup.
Now some folks apparently think it’s strange when people are swimming among sharks and they get attacked. I do not find that strange at all.
Not long ago an employee at an amusement park, who was swimming with a killer whale, was killed by that creature. People were surprised. Well you know, the fact that it’s called a “killer” whale should be tantamount to those signs that read “high voltage” or “forget the dog, beware of the owner.” There’s probably a reason they didn’t name it the “Mr. Rogers’ whale.”
So “Shark Week” has ended, but metaphorically speaking it continues as our economy is ground into chum!
Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.