Sunday, July 29, 2007

When I grow up

Summer time can be a veritable wasteland for cable viewers - our network favorites go into reruns and new short-season summer series are often no more than a flash in the pan. Thankfully TNT developed The Closer a few years ago providing at least one night a week with some clever crime drama. Army Wives, while airing amongst the notoriously sentimental and uninspired shows on Lifetime, is an intriguing new series that lands it a good few notches above mediocre. But every summer, without fail, the Discovery Channel alone can boast an event with both reruns AND original programming that would completely beat out a week with new episodes of House, Criminal Minds, Grey's Anatomy, and CSI - at least on my TiVo.

Shark Week makes me want to go back in time and become an ichthyologist.

These animals are brilliant and beautiful. I just finished watching Top Ten Most Dangerous Sharks, which I remember watching last year. The narrator talked about all these amazing experiences, and shows biologists and divers doing the most exciting things. I want to go swim with sharks, get bitten by one or two (nothing fatal or damaging, just enough for a cool scar and a story), experience the awe and adrenaline of sharing the ocean with them.

When I was young I was obsessed with whales, and I feel like I missed out. If I had had a poster of the various species of sharks on my wall, instead of whales, perhaps I would have stuck to my guns and become a biologist of some sort instead of crapping out in high school and giving up on the sciences. It's not likely, as the science programs, even in my school district in coastal Maine, weren't exactly deep sea expeditions.

I found myself writing a poem about shark predation on the train last week, in anticipation of the Shark Week extravaganza. I felt like a cheat. I've never seen a shark in the wild, only in aquariums (and according to the aforementioned program, it was most likely a sand tiger, as they survive best in captivity and their needly teeth make for a great spectacle). My experience on boats is limited to Portland Harbor and the Staten Island Ferry. I once went on a whale watch - I was about 14 - and wound up seasick and vomiting and not seeing more than a dorsal fin. I will take whatever drugs necessary to go on a shark watch so that I can record their majesty in earnest.

I promise not to get eaten.

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