In honor of Shark Week, Imma throw a ‘lil chum in the water via the way back machine. This post first appeared on the800lbgorilla in April of 2007. It was my way of giving my blog partner shit over his fear of sharks.
This was a popular post among shark enthusiasts, trollers and a German film director who wanted permission to use the original image attached (unfortunately, that image is no longer available). Perhaps my favorite memory regarding this post was how many people didn’t realize that it was satire. So . . yanno . . spoiler alert?
While you are far likelier to be killed by a stray dog, few animals evoke sheer terror in the way a shark does. This is a result of the fact most big dogs weigh no more than a hundred and fifty pounds while a shark’s average weight is several hundred pounds more. Add to this the fact most dog attacks do not occur in water- which severely limits your ability to grab a weapon or run with any degree of success.
Fortunately, shark attacks on people are rare. Although, for the victims, not nearly rare enough. Most species of shark are harmless to humans, such as those found in aquariums or on a menu. Still, even medium-sized sharks are more than capable of inflicting serious injuries or killing people due to the fact they outweigh even the average American by a quarter ton and are affectionately referred to as “cranky razor blade vessels” by marine biologists.
While it is best to learn how to prevent a shark attack, you should also know what to do in the “unlikely” event of an attack. Note: Not going into the water is always your best bet.
- Remain calm. As the shark is tearing into your flesh, your initial reaction will be to get the hell out of the water as quickly as possible. While this is natural, fight the urge to show the shark he’s gotten the best of you and is probably going to get the rest of you before long. Remember, unless you’re Jesus Christ, you’re not going to outrun a shark in the water. It’s crucial that you keep your wits about you as the shark is tearing at your femur and introducing you to more blood than you’re comfortable with.
- Keep your eye on the shark at all times. Sharks may retreat temporarily and then try to sneak up on you. Of course, you may turn your attention away from the shark as you search for your missing limbs. Don’t let this happen. It is essential to know where the shark is so you can defend against it, so make every effort to watch your impending cause of death, even as you’re trying to escape/scream/fall into merciful shock/drown/snap your own neck.
- Get into a defensive position. If the Coast Guard is not immediately available or a Quint-like fisherman is not cruising in your vicinity, try to reduce the shark’s possible angle of attack. It will be easier since by this point, you are not encumbered with a pair of arms and legs. If you’re near the shore, by all means bob to safety. If you have diving equipment, descend gradually and then remove your equipment and gulp as much water as possible until you black out. In open water, if you’re with another diver, use them as a shield.
If you have achieved the first three steps, congratulations. You are no closer to actually surviving a shark attack, but you are ready to play centerfield.
4. Fight. Seriously. Fighting a shark may seem illogical. But remember, ancient civilizations fought sharks for sport. Do not let the fact that those ancient civilizations are extinct for a reason cloud your thinking. Playing dead won’t deter an aggressive shark, and you won’t be playing dead for very much longer anyway. Your best bet if attacked is to make the shark see you as a strong, credible threat. If nothing else, it gives him an exciting story to share with his friends later on.
- If you have a speargun or pole, shoot it. Don’t miss. Aim for the head, specifically the eyes, or for the gills. We cannot emphasize enough how costly a move this becomes should you miss. Don’t miss.
- If you don’t have a weapon such as a sawed off shotgun or .357 magnum, improvise. Use any inanimate object, such as a camera, or simply use your fists, elbows, knees, and legs to fight the shark (assuming you still have fists, elbows, knees and legs). Usually, a hard blow to the shark’s gills, eyes or nose will cause the shark to retreat. Of course, it also makes them even angrier. If a shark continues to attack, or if it has you in its mouth, take a very quick inventory of your life and pray for forgiveness.
5. Get out of the water. It would seem obvious, wouldn’t it? While there are a number of things you can do to ward off an attack, you’re not truly safe until you’re out of the water. Your goal should always be to get back to the shore or back on the boat. Then again, your goal should have been to stay out of the water to begin with.