Over the weekend my worst nightmare came true--though it happened to someone else. Two teenagers were attacked and lost limb(s) within 90 minutes and just a couple of miles apart from each other. And it occured in waist-deep water! I'm not trying to be a smartass about this because It is horrible- but it is the perfect example of why I live a majority of my life the way I do.
Ever since I first saw Jaws, I've never entered the ocean without hearing that theme song in my head. YOU know the one, Duuun dun duuun dun...etc. And that fear has, of course, grown as I've aged. I seriously would rather run naked through Times Square at lunch time then spend any time in the ocean. I'm that terrified (which is unfair of me, because if I did streak through it, the folks in Times Square would acquire that same level of terror)!
I have been very damaged by viewing Jaws and have lived my life ever since that fateful viewing by overthinking and planning my interactions with the ocean. When I went to the beaches of Florida and was invited to join my family in the Gulf waters, I politely declined--watching them as they floated happily in the shallow bath tub-warm waters laughing and watching me sitting on the shoreline letting the waves slam into me, sending sand down my top and settling in my bottoms. When I recently went to Waikiki I'm pretty sure I was the only person there scanning the waves for fins amongst the 1000s of other water enthusiasts. And no one there was even aware--thus appreciative--of my vigilence.
Back in my youth I used to scuba dive but always made sure that the others on the dive boat jumped in the water first because I figured if there were sharks around, they'd be the canary that gave the rest of us the warning. One time, however, in La Paz, Mexico I was the first on the boat to don my weight belt, fins, vest, tank, mask, and regulator and ready for the water. The Dive Master instructed me to jump in to make room for the others on the small boat deck. Not wanting to divluge my own life-saving plan (perhaps it would seem a trifle neurotic), I closed my eyes and jumped in. As I bobbed next to the boat a good 10-feet or so away looking at the slower would-be divers I saw them pointing behind me and talking excitedly. Apparently, I found out later, a giant whale shark had risen to the surface somewhere behind me. To this day, I am SOOOO thankful I did not decide to turn around and see it. I know I would not be here today because--though whale sharks don't eat or attack people--I would have died right there of a cardiac arrest.
My other nightmares include, in no particular order:
Coming face-to-face with a snake (unless they are made into shoes or a stylish purse)
Getting hit by an errant taxi or bus
Choking on food in a public place
Trains, planes, or car accidents
Getting eaten by a wild animal (see above)
Running into a stranger in my hallway
So, getting back to my original reason for this rambling on I'll share my words of wisdom on how I manage to avoid living my nightmares: it's very simple really--I don't get off the couch much. I am not quite a complete couch potato, obviously, or I'd never be able to travel the world, but I do tend to spend an exorbitant amount of time there--though I prefer to use the more politically-correct term 'vertically challenged'. I watch TV, read books, type on my laptop, make phone calls, and surf the net all from the corner of my couches (yes I have more than one).
I used to have a boss who was very athletic and was always coming into work with some sort of sport-related injury. Every Monday when she'd come hobbling in on crutches or sporting her arm in a sling, I'd remind her that I never had those problems and that 'you never get hurt if you don't leave the couch'.
Thus drawing from my life rules, my words of advice for the current situation are, "Stay out of the ocean, East Coasters! The sharks can't get you from the comfort of your plaid Lazy Boy!" Unless of course there's a Sharknado.