A welcome break from writing, and an interesting morning in my fourth office (Scarborough Fish and Game Association). Author and magazine writer Tim Queeney chronicles my efforts to help a couple choose an effective, but manageable firearm for their sailing trip through the Northwest Passage. The catch? They’ve never touched a firearm before, and their choices are limited by Canadian and Greenland federal laws, which requires them to carry a shotgun or big game rifle to protect themselves from polar bears. Not exactly beginner firearms. Check out Tim’s recap of our morning at the gun range.
And I’m not talking about trading in my Sabre 28′ for a Pearson 34’…though an extra six feet would make all of the difference on our two-week trip up the Maine coast. Always a thought I suppose.
No, I’m talking about one of the greatest lines in movie history, delivered flawlessly by a terrified Roy Scheider. Oh, it’s such an awesome scene! Take a few seconds to refresh your memory. It’s a classic, from a timeless film: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Timeless, because every year we try to sit down and watch this movie as a family, and every year we get about twenty minutes in before pulling the plug on the idea. It has become a family tradition during Shark Week...to almost watch Jaws. We usually pass on St. Patty’s Day, forget Cinco De Mayo, lazily throw out plastic eggs at the last-minute for Easter, and this year as you know, we bagged on the Fourth of July fireworks. But we never miss Shark Week!
I can’t remember how old I was when I first saw Jaws, but I can confidently say that it scared the shit out of me. The movie did, but the whole fear of sharks on open water never took root…until much later in life. I grew up in northwest Indiana, and saw the beach maybe four times a year. Lake Michigan. No sharks in fresh water, so I never really connected with this fear. My wife grew up in Buffalo, and probably had the same experience. Terrifying movie, but who cares really? Right?
I started to develop a fear of the open water during my brief stint in SEAL training, at the BUD/S compound in Coronado. More specifically, during open ocean training. I remember paddling exhausted, well past the surf line, and seeing a four-foot long shark break the surface right next to our rubber boat. It panicked four sturdy SEAL students, including myself, in broad daylight. I remember saying to myself something along the lines of “Son of a bitch! We swim out here too!” From that point forward, I wasn’t very keen on the idea of swimming off the Coronado beaches as a BUD/S trainee, I didn’t even like splashing around inside of the surf line. Remember what you learned watching Jaws! Most attacks occur in under two feet of water, less than ten feet from the shoreline. I think I’ve heard this fact reinforced on The Today Show, so it must be true.
I sat down yesterday, with a little spare time on my hands to finish this blog post. Nobody was home, so I put Jaws back on. I didn’t get much writing done. I love that movie. The characters are fantastic, the music is unforgettable…the whole concept is sheer genius. I never really payed too much attention to the setting until yesterday, and now I know why my wife gave me “the look” Sunday night, as we started watching. The opening scene is scary enough, but it wasn’t until a little later that we both had that gut reaction to turn the movie off. I finally know why.
The setting looked way too close to the places we visit in our sail boat! Holy crap they look the same.
Quaint islands and seaside towns. Calm, uncrowded beaches…the beach at Amity Island looked like any of the beaches we visit within 5 minutes of our house. We decided that if we ever want the kids to jump off the side of our sailboat into strange waters, this was not the best movie to show them. To confirm out decision, nobody put up a fight…and these kids can fight if they don’t agree.
I took theses pictures at various stops. You might recognize them. My daughter is in the water at Diamond Cove, a popular island stop not too far from our marina. These are the memories I’d like the kids to have. Fun in the water. Let me worry about the sharks…and I worry, you should see how fast I get out after diving headfirst into the water to cool off. Irrational, but I’ve seen Jaws too many times.
In case anyone is interested, our next family movie is Poltergeist…another classic! I’m actually not kidding. Maybe they won’t want to watch TV after seeing it…can’t be a bad thing, right? “There here.” I can’t wait…and I’ll never go in the basement again. Damn these movies!
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