I have a totally unhealthy and unrealistic fear of being eaten by a great white shark. This is because I belong to a very specific demographic called American Child Whose Parents Made the Ill-Advised Decision To Allow Her To Watch the Movie Jaws At a Sleepover During Her Formative Years.
Multiple viewings of Steven Spielberg’s iconic film (and years of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel) left me terrified of oceans, lakes, creeks, swimming pools, bathtubs, and glasses of water until I was well into my teens. My sharkophobia was still at its zenith in tenth grade when I refused point-blank to participate in the P.E. swimming rotation, knowing that deep water was where sharks stage for people treats. I informed my nonplussed teacher that the drain at the bottom of the deep end appeared to me “as if the shadowy harbinger of aqua-death.”
This unfortunate bit of clumsy poetry made its way into My Permanent Record—not only earning me an F in P.E. that semester, but making me a shoo-in at the end of the school year for the title “Most Likely To Be Eaten By a Shark.”
Which is why, as an adult, I headed straight for the mountains of landlocked Colorado. Because you can’t be too safe, you know?
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