I found an old photo from the first time I went to Jamaica way back when. It’s taken from above up on a cliff, and I’m in about 20 feet of ocean, snorkeling for the first time in my life. (Of course I lost it somewhere last night, so I did this stupid little drawing.)
See how I’m kinda bent sideways?
That’s so I have a clear view of any sharks coming up from behind who wanna eat my legs.
Seriously, when it comes to me and the ocean, that’s my technique: a never ending twist so I can scan behind me.
You've seen "Jaws".
I first saw it in high school at a drive-in on a summer night in Belleville, IL.
One minute I was sitting on the hood of a car thinking about how in the world I might kiss that one girl with the long brown hair.
And then... that music came out of that dangling, tinny speaker and the pretty, soft naked woman was swimming and the legs are kicking and the camera coming up from below…
2 hours later the world was different.
I didn't kiss anybody.
Because I am not kidding about sharks – there is no more terrifying thing in the world.
I can’t even make up a metaphor for that fear.
And that first time snorkeling?
There was a shark behind me, and he was gigantic.
We’ll get to that in a minute.
First, lets talk about the Cubs.
We’ve already spoken about our reduced expectations for next
summer, but depending on Matt Holliday staying in St. Louis it’s not unrealistic to think that the
Cubs are near the top of the Central.
We’ve already spoken about our reduced expectations for next summer, but depending on Matt Holliday staying in St. Louis it’s not unrealistic to think that the Cubs are near the top of the Central.
I just wanted to look behind them for that shark.
It ain’t the Pirates.
I think the Brewers might have gotten a mini-Milton in our old friend LaTroy Hawkins.
You think Dusty’s sort of ruined those arms?
Aaron Harang was apparently this close to going to the Dodgers, poor guy.
Right now I’d say the Cubs ought to feel not so bad, at least about the Central.
Now, compared to the rest of the NL, the Central can't even hope for shark status - more like blowfish.
Okay, back to the ocean.
Okay, back to the ocean.
I’m snorkeling with this guy Steve, the boyfriend of my girlfriend’s girlfriend.
Steve is a great guy who wears glasses with really thick lenses, which he can’t wear under his mask.
He's snorkeling blind, in other words.
So it’s my responsibility to watch out for the big shark for both of us.
We’re in an area called “The Cliffs” in Negril, so called because there are no beaches on this part of the island.
You climb down a 3rd World ladder into the water. Right when you get in it’s about 20’ deep with the ocean going out one way and a wall of jagged black rocks with the waves crashing back the other.
My theory here is that if I can see what’s about to eat me, well, I’d be okay with that. So snorkeling is kind of okay.
Because of "Jaws", I absolutely can NOT swim on the top of deep water without being able to see below me.
I tried it.
My legs involuntarily kick at their full speed so I pop up out of the water like a peeing dolphin – it’s embarrassing.
So there I am, behind Steve trying to be cool while corkscrewing around to look behind me.
And there it is: SHARK!
Gigantic and dark and not looking at me sideways.
It’s swimming right at me.
If you put both your hands over your mouth (like you’re about to sneeze) and scream as loud as you can, you can replicate the noise that I made, only without all the bubbles.
I grabbed Steve’s leg while making that noise.
We popped our heads out of the water and I made that noise in open air.
Then Steve said, “What the hell, man?”
And I pointed to the shark and urgently informed him that we needed to immediately get out of the water.
His point of view was that the cliff was about 30 feet straight up and the rocks would cut us silly.
I said something like,“THERESAFUCKINGSHARKRIGHT. THEEEEERRRE!”
The whole time we’re having this conversation, maybe 9 seconds, I’ve got my snorkel out but still have my mask on and I’m alternating looking at the shark from under water and from above the water.
It’s now about 15 feet from us, but now it’s moving very slowly.
In fact, did it stop?
It’s kinda just hovering there, and I can see that while it’s really a fat shark under water, it’s not a very long shark from above.
Steve goes, “Are you sure that’s a shark?”
And then I notice a strange yellow thing coming off the side of the shark.
It’s… a yellow piece of plastic!
The kind you find in the seam at the top of… a garbage bag.
Now, there’s really no way to recover your manhood after that, right?
But at least I’m man enough to tell the story.
Freaking empty garbage bag.
I got out of the water, had some rum.
Here's a sketchbook from one of those Jamaica trips. The subject is Drumville Cove, where we were staying.