One more thing to add to the ever expanding list of Shit You Really Don’t Want To Talk To Your Four-Year-Old About: shark attacks. When your goal is to have your son grow up to be the next Joel Tudor, and your daughter to be the next Lisa Andersen, this is not a welcome development.
Not that I’m in the least bit concerned – even though David Martin was killed at the surf break that was my go-to spot when we lived in Solana Beach. Saw lots of dolphins in the three years that I frequented that break, nary a shark. Hell, I spent 7 years working for SeaWorld, spouting statistics and anecdotes about how galactically UNlikely you are to be killed by a shark here in sunny San Diego (as it happens, you have a greater chance of being killed by lightning, bees, falling airplane parts, and domesticated pigs than a great white). In fact, I surfed yesterday evening, two days after the attack. At sunset. Without a lifeguard around. Or any other surfers in the water. (I’ll admit – it was a bit spooky. After I got out of the water, I saw a gray dorsal fin break the surface, right where I had been. A dolphin, of course, and, of course, had I seen that same fin in the water while I was out there bobbing around, I’m quite certain I would have fouled my wetsuit.)
Luckily, Lucas has no fear of the ocean, and luckier still, he remained blissfully ignorant of the tragedy. And I intended to keep it that way. And so it was that we were driving down the coast highway on Saturday afternoon, me gazing wistfully out at the ocean, lovely waves rolling in made even lovelier by slight offshore breezes – waves that were completely empty, unridden, due to the circling helicopters and lifeguard trucks that were on the lookout for the great white. “Look at how nice that looks,” I said to Beth. “Stupid shark.”
“What? What shark, daddy?”
Beth was thinking quickly. “Oh, daddy…is telling a joke. A joke from a movie that we saw. About a shark.”
“Oh,” said Lucas. “What movie?”
“Well, it’s a movie called Jaws, and it’s about a shark.”
“Can I watch it?”
“Well,” I said, “it’s a grownup movie. When you’re old enough, believe me, we’ll watch it.”
“Yeah”, added Beth. “It’s very scary, and it has lots of bad words.”
“Oh,” said Lucas. “Do they say ‘stupid’?”
“Yep,” we said.
“Oh,” said Lucas. “And ‘dammit’?”
“Yeah,” we said, “but remember, you’re not supposed to say that word…”
Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies….