Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Reasons I Hate my Brother-in-Law #1

When I was a kid, sharks were all the rage. Jaws had come out, and I was way too young to see it, but I must have seen the preview on television a million times. And that was enough to get me reading every single shark book that I could get my hands on. Hammerheads, great whites, makos, tiger sharks ... I knew them all, as well as a thousand stories of people being mauled or devoured by them.

Twenty years later, surprise surprise, I am terrified of sharks. Not only at the ocean but in fresh water lakes and yes, pools, I swim tormented by images of sharks gliding toward me from behind. You'd be surprised at the stories I am able to visualize as I'm swimming in indoor pools -- sharks suddenly bursting up through large drains, or back there in the shadows (?) of the 7 foot deep pool all along, unnoticed when I first jumped in.

Suffice it to say, I spend more time on the beach than in the water, especially in the ocean, and I am actually pretty darn terrified to swim out too far. On a vacation to St. John's in the Caribbean, two days of snorkeling had me courageous enough to actually swim out to a boat docked 30-40 yards from shore. I was terribly proud of myself.

And I'm still terrified.

When I got back from our days in Gerroa, I found this email from my brother-in-law:

A photo for you:
Family on holiday in Australia when husband, wife and their 15 year old son go scuba diving. Son wanted a picture of his mum and dad in all their gear so he got the underwater camera. Dad realized as son took the photo, he looked like he was panicking. The son took the picture and swam to the surface and jumped into the boat. Mum and dad followed to see if he was OK. When the parents asked why he said 'there was a shark behind you.' The dad thought he was joking. When they got back to the hotel, they loaded the picture onto their laptop. This is what they saw. Notice how the shark is smiling. A true Kodak moment.

Here's the photo:

I'm sure the shot is a fake. I'm sure it is.

Even so, you're not going to catch me anywhere near the ocean anytime soon.

I hate my brother-in-law.

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