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Shark Week: Why I Don’t Go In The Ocean

In 1975, four years before I even entered this earth, a movie came out in theaters. It was summertime. Her name was Chrissie Watkins. She was youthful, attractive, a free-spirit, you might say. She ran across the sand towards the water and stripped off her garments as she went.

She dove in the waters and swam away from the shore. The water seemed peaceful and welcoming. As the bell rang, Chrissie stopped and was treading water. The sun was just peaking out a tad… it was ideal.


And just like that, it was over. Ravaged. There was terrifying music, shrieks and screams and helpless, indefensible Chrissie getting pulled all over the place by a mysterious thing from the ocean, a cold-blooded killer who’s character is revealed later by Richard Dreyfuss. His character, Matt Hooper says, “It’s a carcharadon carcharias. It’s a Great White.”

A shark that the world knew now as… JAWS.

JAWS, the film was first introduced to me at the age of 10, I believe. This was a horrific event for me. You see, my mother is from Massachusetts and Jaws takes place in Amity Island, which we are told is in New England. Cape Cod, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Narragansett… these are all places we frequented in the Summer. All ruined for me after seeing this movie. Steven Spielberg, thank you for making a film about a giant-man-eating-psycho-of-a-shark trailing the waters off Amity Island because ever since then, I have been afraid of going in the ocean.

That shark is always there, hiding, way back in my memories as a child. Anytime, I see the ocean, it’s like a fake dorsal fin pops up out a wave and I’m automatically psyching myself out that a great big, imaginary shark is in those waters and I immediately go back to my blanket in the sand to fend off the seagulls and bugs.


Written by Manny King John

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