Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006

Make My Day

by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
Syracuse, Indiana

Printable version of this story

SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Editor's Note: Erik is away from the office on = business this week, so we are reprinting a previous column.

I would like to say this about all the lawyers who want to file lawsuits= over the World Trade Center attacks: it's about sharks. Blood thirsty, car= rion eating,latch-onto-your-leg-and-won't-let-go-until-they-get-their-pound= -of-fleshsharks.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the great cinematic classic, "Jaws" wa= s being re-released to celebrate its 25th anniversary (I was eight when it = was released). I also said the movie had scared me so badly, it was a long = time before I entered a swimming pool, although I got over that quickly one= hot summer.

However, I still hate swimming in lakes since I can't see what's swimmin= g around me, and have only been in the ocean a few times in the past 25 yea= rs thanks to that damn movie. And while I was able to intellectually convin= ce myself that I wouldn't be eaten by a shark in only four feet of water, l= et's just say I was frightened enough to raise the temperature of the surro= unding water a few degrees, if you get my drift.

I'm sure that my admitted cowardice has raised a few eyebrows and laughs= at my expense, but I stand by my original fears with new evidence that the= y are well founded. I also hope that any of you who laughed at me will be e= aten by a school of ill-tempered sea bass the next time you frolic in the o= cean.

The evidence is actually two different incidents that happened over a fo= ur-day period. The first one happened in Boca Ciega Bay, Fla., near St. Pet= ersburg. The bay itself runs into the Gulf ofMexico.

According to the Reuters news story, a man was killed by an "apparent sh= ark attack." However, despite the "bite marks on the man's body," they want= ed to wait for medical examiner to render an official cause of death.

Now= let me get this straight. First, a man's body is found floating in the bay= (discovered by his wife, in fact). Second, there are huge bite marks all o= ver his body. Third, the bay in question is a saltwater bay that leads dire= ctly into the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico connects directly to the A= tlantic Ocean. Fourth, sharks live in the ocean, which means they could get= into the Gulf of Mexico, andultimately, Boca Ciega Bay.

Paging Dr. Obvious. Dr. Obvious to the Medical Examiner's office, please= .

I guess I'm not really sure why they waited for the medical examiner. Th= ey didn't do that in "Jaws." No way. Roy Scheider knew itwas a shark as soo= n as the first body appeared on the beach with a beachball-sized chunk miss= ing from its torso. Nobody can be that stupid.

Beachgoer #1: Hey where's Larry?

Beachgoer #2: He's floating over there.

Beachgoer #1: Good, I was getting worried -- Hey, where are La= rry's legs?!

Beachgoer #2: Wow, that had to hurt. What do you suppose couldcau= se that?

Beachgoer #1: I don't know. Seagulls, maybe?

Beachgoer #2: I know, let's ask the Boca Ciega Bay medical examin= er.

According to officials, an attack like this is very uncommon, because mo= st shark attacks take place on Florida's east coast, in the Atlantic Ocean.= In fact, in July of this year (2000), three people were bitten by sharks i= n Volusia County, Florida -- okay, they were actually bitten in the ocean o= ff of Volusia County, but you get my point. But officials point out that th= e last fatal shark attack on the west coast was in 1981.

There is no word as to whether this historical bit of trivia wasof any c= omfort to the widow.

My fears don't seem so silly now, do they? This poor man was probably we= ll aware of the likelihood of a shark attack on Florida's west coast, so he= went swimming in the ocean, confident that the odds of him being attacked = by a shark were as high as ... well, being attacked by a shark.

But the story doesn't stop with sharks. Apparently, there are giant man-= eating cod swimming in the oceans too?!

In another Reuters story, a human head was found inside the stoma= ch of a 97-pound Morgan cod on the last Tuesday of August. Police believe t= he head formerly belonged to one Michael Peter Edwards, a fisherman who was= discovered missing on Sunday, August 27,from a fishing trawler near Townsv= ille, an area in the north ofAustralia.

And although I'm now also deathly afraid of giant cod, I had tochuckle a= t the irony of the story. The head itself was found by workersat a seafood = plant who were preparing the 5-foot fish for sale. Thereason its funny is t= hat, according to the story, Edwards fell from thedeck of his fishing boat,= and "his colleagues continued to fish in thearea after alerting police tha= t Edwards was missing." And as it turns out, it was Edward's colleagues who= caught the fish that contained their buddy's head.

Now those are some dedicated fishermen! Most fishermen would stop fishin= g and start searching for their friend, or would be so upsetthey would just= turn around and go home. But not these guys. They were dedicated to their = job, and continued doing it, even though a coworker had just vanished and w= as now fish poop.

Fisherman #1: Hey, where's Michael?!

Fisherman #2: I don't know. I think he fell overboard.

Fisherman #1: Aww, that makes me sad.

Fisherman #2: I know what will cheer you up. Let's go fishing! = Fisherman #1: That's a great idea!

"The cause of death will never = be clearly established simplybecause we only have the head," said detective= sergeant Peter Wright ofthe Townsville police. "There are hundreds of litt= le reef sharks in thewater which could end up in a feeding frenzy and destr= oy most of a bodywhich was in the water, and the cod is renowned for being = a scavenger."

I think Detective Sergeant Wright needs to compare notes with the Boca C= iega Bay, Florida medical examiner. Here's a hint: If someone falls into th= e water where reef sharks are known to start feeding frenzies, and his head= is later found in the stomach of another fish, the odds are pretty high he= didn't die of food poisoning.

So, we have two alleged shark attack fatalities, and one giant cod that = will apparently eat anything. And where did these take place?That's right, = the ocean. And who, even with his swimsuit-wetting fear ofthe ocean, has ma= naged to keep his arms and legs? That's right, me. Sohow long do you think = it will be before I go swimming in the ocean?

That's right, when Keanu Reeves wins his first Oscar.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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