shark week is here!! finally, we’ve got our complete week of sharks. winning! sharks are fantastic to watch on a couch, in a bar, or in a car, as long as you’re not the one driving of course. break out the smart phones on the train, the bus, and don’t forget to tune in on a plane. it’s shark week everybody. you don’t want to miss a moment of it.
on sunday night, as a friend and i watched the unveiling of this year’s shark week premiere, my friend, she turns to me, and she says, ‘so shark week is one of those things that everyone just decided we’re going to get excited about. it’s as if everyone in like the last three years agreed that shark week is a thing. its everywhere.’ when i saw the repeated beer commercials and occasional tweets in the top corner of the screen, i knew she was right. i realized discovery had entirely catered this years shark week to fit the audience that was the most excited about it. i myself have been dancing about the house singing the camp shark song (‘baby shark, do-do, do-do-do-do, baby shark….mama shark, do-do, do-do-do-do…’) with the hand motions and all. my sister, four years older, is chanting SHARK WEEK on my facebook wall. my friends are coming over just to watch shark week. its a big event. sharks are great. but why do we care so much about the sharks? i feel like shark week hides something all to obvious for anyone to stop and think about for a minute.
the ocean is fascinating. it’s expansive and beautiful and never ending. it’s a whole world onto itself. but we aren’t a part of that world, and thus, for us, it’s a new frontier that keeps growing. it’s a frontier whose end is never coming. the pioneers will keep on pioneering as more and more is revealed. discovery channel says that we only know about 5% of our oceans. if they’re even remotely close to the true percentage, then there are waters we haven’t even begun to imagine exploring. the creatures of the ocean is just as mysterious, and probably as dangerous, as the nazgul from lord of the rings. looking at this from sam and frodo’s perspective, the ocean is the equivalent of the land beyond the shire: especially for sam, it’s terrifying. so why adventure? it’s great to know what is out there, but i think it’s important to note that both shark week and frodo’s adventures have a couple things in common: they’re carefully selected depictions of a world unknown. they’re guided adventures, crafted by the pros. so to this target audience of shark week, take shark week for what it is: a guided tour of the world of sharks. consider megalodon. some say the starter of shark week was a mockumentary, but i say who cares? megalodon was a real thing, and it was an exciting way to start shark week. honestly, they could’ve shown sharknado and i wouldn’t have complained. either way, they’re sharks. they’re exactly what you bargain for when you go into shark week. who doesn’t want to see some sharks, and maybe for a minute believe that megalodon could be coming back. anythings possible. the water is getting warmer. things are changing. take it all with a grain of salt.
when we boil it down, the main thing to take away from shark week is the nice reminder that we don’t belong in that world of sharks. we are visitors over there and we have to act as such. their behavior is changing. listen to the researchers. don’t expect that they’ll leave you alone. if they mistake you for a seal, that’s your doing. they’re just being sharks, trying to get from one day to the next. let them do their thing. we’ll do ours up here. we’ve got a lot of other things to be dealing with. shark week gives us a minute to oo and aw about the sharks and lots of people will probably be having nightmares, but when the nightmares subside is when all hell breaks lose, because that is when we forget again that we’re creatures of the earth just as the sharks are. we go into their homes. they don’t naturally understand what we are. they’re bound to get a bit curious.