Sharks are getting a lot of press around here lately as they seem to be venturing closer and closer to popular beaches on the Cape. Why is that exactly? One theory is that sharks are still pissed off at Spielberg for allowing Jaws II-IV to happen and want to take it out on our species. Still another theory is that the obesity problem in this country is inadvertently making humans look like delicious seals. Although it’s most likely the latter, I’m not completely ruling out the former.
Amongst all the sensationalized news, one line jumped out at me (from a Boston.com article on 7/3/12):”For that reason, he said, beachgoers are prohibited from swimming within 300 feet of seals on the eastern shoreline. Sharks, which feed on seals, have been known to mistake humans for their prey.” It made me think that the obesity problem in this country is really getting out of hand if sharks are mistaking humans for seals. We don’t even need to be floating on a surfboard anymore to resemble that classic seal shape. Just keep inhaling fast food and washing it down with gallons of soda and we can all be shark food!
It was around this time where I had an interaction with some shark bait. I was working out in the diving well at a local high school with a couple of friends (doing some aqua jogging) when the incident took place. All of us were either still injured or coming back from something or other, so it wasn’t an epic workout. However, we were putting an honest effort in (#AquaJogOnTheLevel).
About twenty minutes into it, I had to get out of the water to stretch my calves out, and that’s when the obese lifeguard stepped forward and decided to make ‘polite’ conversation. “What are you guys doing?” he asked us. In response we told him that we were aqua jogging. “Well yeah, I know that. I just don’t get it…why do you need the flotation belt?”
My friend Adam went on to explain how it helped us keep our form, but this did not impressive the lifeguard. “I just don’t get it,” he continued in a condescending tone, “for my lifeguard test I had to tread water for three hours, and you guys are only doing this for a couple of minutes.”
I was speechless; in fact we all were. After an awkward pause, I said “Alright, time to get back in the water.” I really just wanted to tear into him, but he was a bit of an asshole and from our vantage point in the water we had already witnessed him enjoying his authority a little too much. I didn’t want to risk getting tossed and not being able to finish the workout.
So you’re going to be obnoxious and brag about your ability to be fat and float? I wanted to say something like ‘well, I can run from Hopkinton to Boston in 2:31, which leaves me another 29 minutes to [insert momma joke here].’ What makes it worse is the fact that I’m pretty sure he either made that whole thing up or he was just the victim of some really cruel lifeguard hazing. I’m thinking the test monitors said ‘keep treading until we get back’, then they stepped out and decided to go see ‘The Avengers’.
We should stop wasting taxpayer money on shark lookouts/spotters (helicopters, etc.) and just let natural selection take over. Why don’t we just go all in and open a McDonald’s right on the beach? They can place a warning on the bag that says something like: “Surgeon General’s Warning: ‘Consumption of this food will increase your chances of being attacked by a shark and/or sexually assaulted by a seal.'”
So what can be done about this problem? Just shutting down a beach for a few days until the shark swims away (aka the needle disappearing into the haystack) just doesn’t seem to be a good long-term solution. Some other steps that can be taken are to shut down fast food restaurants within a 10 mile radius of the beaches, swimmers require to carry a harpoon gun with them, or we all just start eating better and getting in good exercise.
Shutting down the fast food joints near the shark sighting area is nearly self-explanatory, but the radius stipulation is key. I wouldn’t put it past McDonald’s to try to get around the ban by floating a franchise in there. Anyway, this wouldn’t do much good since most of the people at the beach will be traveling from outside of that area.
The NRA is probably chomping at the bit for an aquatic chapter that would see most swimmers (Aquatic Americans) take to the waters armed to the teeth. It’s not really safe or practical. So what else then? How long before you see people selling diversion seals on the beach? Since sharks are attracted to the slower/injured animals, if you brought your own pre-injured seal into the water with you then that should provide the distraction necessary to get out of the water alive should a shark venture too close.
If sharks are mistaking humans for seals (with horrific results), imagine how bad it’ll get if seals start mistaking us for seals. How long before someone is sexually assaulted by a seal in heat? Maybe the seals won’t mistake us for anything but what we’ve become: bloated, easy prey. Which makes me wonder how long before seals catch on to this and start swimming around humans to confuse the sharks? Since seals are much better swimmers than humans, sooner or later the sharks will catch on and realize that humans are easier to get. All our fast food will turn us into fast food for sharks.
If you think all this sounds ridiculous (and it is), how is it that today’s snake oil diets aren’t viewed the same way? So you’re going to lose weight with out changing your diet or exercising. Wow, really? Does anybody say that out loud before trying it? I think the most logical way out of this is for everybody to start running on the regular. You don’t even need shoes to do it (see: barefoot movement)!
The first step towards a healthier lifestyle is the hardest to take. It’s a daily struggle on my part since I’ve slacked off tremendously over the course of the last year. Just think: making that first trip to the gym has got to be easier than fending off an amorous seal, or trying to outswim a shark.