The Rogue Shark

As you probably already know, we recently celebrated another Shark Week, and in so doing, renewed my intense fear of being mangled at sea by a me-eating fish. This year's nightmare-inducing week of sharky programming was kicked off with a show called "Blood in the Water," a misleadingly cute title for a show that ended up being surprisingly horrific. It was about a rogue shark who went on a killing spree in 1916, attacking five people in the space of twelve days and inspiring the Jaws films that are responsible for many of my least favorite recurring dreams. Before that summer, people didn't even believe that a shark would attack a human. That one shark proved the opposite, over and over again. The series of attacks incited a massive retaliatory response from the frightened folks in New Jersey who took to the seas with rifles, harpoons, and dynamite to find and kill the man-eating shark. They killed hundreds of sharks (and probably vaporized some other unsuspecting sea creatures in the process) before a fishing boat stumbled across the right shark and a fisherman beat it to death over the head with a broken oar.

Consider, for a moment, all of the damage that this one, messed up shark did to its entire species. A few stupid acts of violence over a twelve-day period kicked off a feud with humans that is still in effect nearly a hundred years later. I imagine most sharks were embarrassed and ashamed by the actions of that one rogue shark when they learned what he had done. Not much they could do about it, though. The damage to the good name of "shark" was already done.

Adolf Hitler was kind of like a rogue shark. He pretty much ruined the name "Hitler" for everyone else. Walt Disney, on the other hand, made his name awesome. If there were two kids in your second grade class named Jeff Hitler and Jeff Disney, which one would you be more likely to befriend? See what I mean? What you don't know is that Jeff Hitler has a swimming pool and is actually a really nice kid. One bad Hitler does spoil the whole bunch, girl.

There are rogue sharks on the roads too... like when I'm driving in some other state, and I see an idiot with Utah plates going ten miles an hour under the speed limit, blocking traffic in the passing lane. I think, "Now these people are going to think we're all dumb!" Stay right except to pass, you idiots, or you're no better than the shark who terrorized the New Jersey coast in 1916... or Hitler.

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