I’m fascinated by sharks.
From the largest:
To the smallest:
To my personal pick as the weirdest:
Though this guy is a close second:
So awhile back, when I learned about the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week on TV, I was intrigued.
Here’s my recollection of the first episode I watched:
First, it’s an hour-long show.
Second, subtract 12 minutes for commercials, so now it’s a 48-minute show.
The first 47 minutes are spent as follows:
Four guys in a boat somewhere on some ocean, looking for sharks:
Guy #1: I see one! A shark! Over there – see?
Guy #2: I see it, too! I –
Guy #2: Oh, wait a minute. That’s just a floating pile of garbage.
Guy #1: Oh. Darn it!
(Some time passes.)
Guy #3: There’s one – see the fin? It’s a great white!
Guy #4: Get closer, you guys! It’s a great white, for sure! It’s a…
Guy #4: It’s a sunfish.
Guy #3: Oh. Darn it!
(More time passes.)
Guy #1: Why don’t we throw some chum into the water?
(Voiceover explains that “chum” is chopped fish, fish fluids, and other material thrown overboard as bait.)
Guy #2: I’ll do the chum, you guys keep your eyes open.
(More time passes – 47 of those 48 minutes. And then…)
All Four Guys: WOW! DID YOU SEE THAT?
I thought – or I should say, I hoped – that this episode was a one-off, and the next show would reveal more sharks.
Instead, what I watched during Shark Week consistently seemed to be people on boats spending much more time looking for sharks than ever actually encountering sharks.
Shark Week and I parted company.
This year, when Shark Week rolled around again on July 11, I rolled my eyes.
What’s the big attraction? I wondered.
I started doing some research, and learned that Shark Week has been around since 1988 – proof that even if I don’t get it, plenty of people do.
I learned that a respected institution – NOAA, the National Oceanside and Atmospheric Administration – associates itself with Shark Week:
And that respected publications, like this one, do stories about Shark Week:
I learned that respected (and otherwise) celebrities get involved in Shark Week, this year including Dr. Pimple Popper, Brad Paisley, Josh Gates, and Tiffany Haddish:
And that merchandisers are involved in Shark Week all year round:
The Discovery Channel’s online store offers 11 pages of merchandise, including Shark Socks, Shark Face Masks, and Bobblehead Hammerhead Sharks:
That last item, alas, is sold out.
And I learned the Shark Week 2021 schedule:
Considering the participation of the very august NOAA, Newsweek, and Dr. Pimple Popper…
Surely I could find a show that interests me?
I’ve still got tonight and tomorrow. Let’s look at the schedule…OK, this sounds promising:
Monster Sharks of Andros Island: A team of shark researchers travel to Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas, to determine if it’s a new Great Hammerhead hotspot, and they’re using reports of a half-octopus, half-shark creature known as the Lusca to help them locate massive sharks for their study.
Guy #1: What is it again, that thing we’re out here looking for?
Guy #2: A Lusca. There’ve been Lusca sightings around Andros for decades, but no one has filmed or photographed one.
Guy #3: It’s a half-shark/half octopus and can grow up to 75 feet long. Here – I’ve got an artist’s image on my phone:
Guy #4: Is that what it’s called? I’ve seen that thing a million times.