There are sharks in the water

One of the benefits of my day job is that I get exposed to any number of gadgets and electronics through customer interaction and trade journals. Last Fall, I came across a device (essentially a big magnet you strap onto your wrist or ankle) designed to repeal certain species of sharks, especially in shallow water. As I have no intention of going deep-sea cage diving with Great Whites (why does anyone do this?), I placed the device on my Christmas wish list as more of a joke than anything else. The hubby, however, obliged (this year give the gift of peace of mind) and the device joined our beach bag supplies.

Shark Attack Prevention Infographic
If you must swim in the ocean at least swim safely

I was enjoying my vacation when I heard the news about a shark attack off the coast of North Carolina – a few dozen miles away. This sort of headline alarms most people (myself included), but I must confess, this time, a part of me was somewhat relieved to hear it (although I do still feel terrible for the victim). Sharks terrify me (and yet I am obsessed with them). Acting and plot aside, Sharknado is my worst nightmare. I have to remind myself every time I visit the ocean how unlikely an attack is just to dabble my toes in the water (see infographic below). Therefore, because there had already been one attack, I convinced myself the laws of probability would protect me and my family for the balance of our trip. Confidence bolstered by statistics and ankle decorated by the newest (yet affordable) tech money could buy, I stunned my hubby by grabbing a boogie board to join the rest of the family in the waves.

On the way home, learned about the additional two separate nearby attacks. It would seem the laws of nature trump the laws of probability. The news made me glad that I had my ankle based backup plan, until I realized that the fact I didn’t demand my son (who hasn’t inherited my healthy fear of the ocean) wear it while swimming rather than me potentially cost me the mother of the year award (there’s always next year). I am now tempted to buy one for the whole family.

For the moment, I am fighting the urge. I remember that the summer of 2001 was dubbed the Summer of the Shark (I am a tad obsessed with my phobia) before the September 11th attacks gave us all something larger to fear. That year, just like this year, there were multiple attacks in a relatively short period of time in relatively similar locations, however, there weren’t really any more attacks than previous years with more sensational news stories like a presidential election or the Simpson murder trial. In fact, there proved to be fewer attacks in 2001 than there were in 2000.

The nightly news this week is beginning to sound much the same way. Thinking positively (which is what I try to do) this could mean that we are entering a slow news cycle. What a relief! After the last several months, a slow news cycle is good news indeed. With how the news has been lately, it is a wonder more people haven’t bunkered down in their homes and stocked up on years worth of canned foods and toilet paper. But while bad things can happen to even the best of us, life has to go on.

The beaches are still open. Yes, there are sharks in the water drawn to fear and or weakness, but just I am not going to allow my fear of these prehistoric killing machines keep me from enjoying future vacations, just as I do not allow the news to prevent me from enjoying my life.

Shark Attack Infographic