That’s right ladies and gents, Discovery Channel’s 25th annual Shark Week begins this Sunday. One week so mesmerizing and intense, it’s the perfect follow-up to the past couple weeks of Olympic greatness.
I think one reason sharks are so frightening is their primeval nature. While most fish have bones like we do, sharks are classified as cartilaginous fish, along with rays and skates. Their skeletons, even their jaws and teeth, are composed of cartilage, the same stuff that makes up your ears. Sharks and other cartilaginous fish have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and have barely changed in that amount of time. They’ve evolved to be perfect killing machines.
If you couldn’t tell already, sharks are my absolute worst fear. I watched Jaws for the first time when I was 5 right before summer began (thanks Mom and Dad), and refused to go in the ocean or pool that whole year. There’s something inherently terrifying about what you can’t see, hear, or sense in any way—it’s the unknown. Attach that horror to the face of a 10 ft animal that weighs several thousand pounds, and you have the perfect recipe for the most fearsome thing ever.
Yea yea I’ve heard all the stats. I know you’re more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by a shark, but that doesn’t change the fact that a million billion dollars couldn’t get me to go down in a metal shark cage when there’s great whites swimming around. The being-dead part isn’t scary. We risk our lives every time we get in a car and drive down the street. It’s the getting-eaten-alive part that gives me goosebumps. And the way I see it, there’s no better way to confront that fear than from somewhere safe and cozy.