Thursday, February 13, 2014

Shark Attack...by Gina Waite

I look like a normal person, but I swear I have the most unusual fear known to man...Sharks...well.... pictures of sharks, that is!  I can stand at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium and see sharks swimming in the beautiful aquariums  without breaking a sweat...BUT put an open book in front of me with a underwater picture of a shark...I'll be outta there!  The pages that set me off the worst...the FULL underwater pictures of sharks without borders around the edge of the page!  It's almost as if the book itself is taunting me that there isn't a place I can touch on the page without touching the water...which contains the shark!  It may seem silly, and believe me I wish I had a normal phobia as I am a HUGE fan of the history contained in our oceans, but I've realized it's my Achilles heel...I just wish my family wasn't so aware of it!

I must go back to the earliest inception of my shark picture phobia!  Mr Steven Spielberg and Mr. John Williams have something to do with that!  I'm sure you can hear the "4/4 string ostinado in d minor" in your head.....No????  Not ringing a bell yet....how about if I write the music this way:

"Duuun.......dun.............Duuun...dun.........dun....dun...dun..dun..dun..dun..dun..dun..dun..dun..dun..dun"


I bet you can hear the soundtrack in your head now!  Picture me, a little blonde girl with pig tails, not a care in the world until the persuasive suggestion of a movie...."Jaws!"  My older siblings had seen Jaws and knew of it's amazing suspense and killer attacks!  I listened closely to the excitement and verbal hype that was spewing forth from the mouth of every one of my older siblings.  This was a movie to top all movies and out of desperation in wanting to be included with the cool cats of the house,  I agreed to go with!  It was not one minute into the movie, and my instantaneous shutter as the stellar soundtrack began, that I grasped for my sister Angie's arm and clung to it for dear life for the entirety of the film.  I even remember being afraid of going to the bathroom after the movie had finished for fear the shark would be able to maneuver into the toilet somehow.  "Oy Vey".....Mr.'s Spielberg and Williams......you scared the crap out of me!

Fast forward to a family vacation in California...picture a lovely family of ten,  all out enjoying running into the waves of the beautiful blue ocean.  With each undulation of the water, we would jump up in hopes of being carried back to the shore.  Without realizing it, my younger siblings had retreated to the shore with my Mom.  My older siblings (who shall remain nameless) decided to play a joke on me.  Unbeknownst to my Mother, I could have qualified for the 100 meter dash in Olympic time, that day, after hearing the blood-curling screams of "shark" and my older siblings pointing toward the ocean just behind me!  Breathless and traveling at light speed I bounded for the shore only to find my siblings laughing at me...I still may need therapy for this!

Then, there was the time I was looking at this amazing National Geographic Book of underwater pictures of sharks and historic shipwrecks...and as my brothers so frequently liked to tease me...one of them snuck up behind me and just as I was tracing my finger over the image of the shark's teeth, my brother (who shall also remain nameless)  jumped up, grabbed me and screamed "shark" into my ear!  Three words for you brother...PAVLOVIAN FEAR CONDITIONING!  From this point on...it was useless...I could NOT touch another underwater shark picture again!

All that being said, I had a boyfriend in high school who chased me around with a picture of a shark (you know who you are)...my darling younger sister (wink, wink)  had her fun with me too...but I never would have guessed my blue-eyed, blonde-haired, six-year-old son would perform the coup de grĂ¢ce of all shark picture pranks.  Smarter than he should have been for six, my son found out about my phobia and hatched an evil plan! That night, I tucked my sweet little man into bed and kissed him on the cheek, "Good night sweetie, no more getting out of bed," I said as I patted his little forehead.  Like the shot heard round the world, my scream penetrated the stratosphere as I pulled back the covers of my own bed to expose the LARGEST, borderless, underwater shark picture I have EVER seen!  As I heard giggling from my son's room, I asked him to come and take the picture off of my bed for me...his answer, "but Mom...you told me not to get out of bed!"  I think a need a therapist for this one too!

Well...what with the prank fodder I've just given every reader "In a Nutshell" has acquired throughout the last year, please send any pictures you have to scare me to death with at nutshellstories@gmail.com  and we'll make a collage of them for all to see!  Perhaps you could also let us know, if you too, were scared to go to the bathroom after seeing "Jaws!"  I know waterbeds are an absolute "No" for me for the rest of my life! ~~/\~~