A while back I did the animal of the day on this blog. I don’t plan on doing this again on a regular basis. However, I had some thoughts this morning.
Those thoughts involved sharks.
I have a fair amount in common with sharks. But there are differences as well. Here are seven ways I identify with this often-misunderstood form of animal.
1. Sharks and I both need to keep moving forward.
I’m going to build on this one later, but to put it simply: Sharks have to keep swimming or they drown. I have to keep writing and making stuff or I lose my spirit. It’s less permanent for me and less urgent, but that has its own problems. Imagine needing to eat to live, but not having instinctive hunger pains. You might starve without knowing it. That’s sort of what it’s like to be a writer.
2. We both used to seem tough, in different ways, but neither of us was ever really that badass.
Back in high school I’m pretty sure at least a few other people used to think I was tough. I may have been one of them, as embarrassing as that is to admit. However, I’ve never really been a tough guy. Sharks have a brutal reputation, but dolphins have the edge on them in the modern oceans. Smarts often defeat teeth, it turns out, as I have read in the case of sharks vs. Dolphins.
3. Both of us can become vicious in temperament, especially when literal or metaphorical blood is shed.
I can get overly excited in an argument. This is one reason I’m terrible at arguing. My temper gets the better of me, and I lose my coherence and objectivity. When sharks sense blood in the water there can be the famous feeding frenzy and they even bite each other sometimes, in their urge to eat and eat. Being a swimming digestive tract isn’t so different from having a fragile grasp on peace as a human.
4. I am not as rough-skinned as a shark.
I’m more scaly but, in all seriousness, I don’t think I rub people raw. I may be wrong about that. I will have to ask the friends I hang out with the most. Even so, sharks have skin like sand paper. Perhaps this is to keep the lampreys off of them. I’m not a zoologist or a marine biologist. I really don’t know what advantage rough skin would have for them, but it must be an effective adaptation or sharks probably would not still be wearing it after many thousands of years of swimming and biting.
5. I’m not a hunter and not as aggressive as a shark.
This has to do with the first point. I wish I was more dedicated to going forward. Sharks don’t have a choice, but I feel the options in my life. As this applies to writing, I know I don’t pursue EXACTLY what I want in a story as directly as I could. Why don’t I do this? I should, but “should” is a dangerous word. Aggressive creativity and story-telling are important, but while I know this intellectually I have yet to grasp it instinctively.
6. While sharks and I both have good teeth, I don’t smile as often as sharks do.
I don’t like my smile because I think it looks goofy with the teeth bared. Sharks, on the other hand, do not close their mouths. Their smiles aren’t pretty, but they don’t care. I think there is a lesson for me in that. Being open to others is fairly easy for me, at least, when I talk about myself. If I could open up about how I feel about others I would be better off, is my thought here. I don’t say what I think about the person I’m talking to most of the time. And when I do I can be rough as sharkskin. This is an area I could really improve.
7. Sharks don’t hesitate like I do, but neither of us can afford to wait around.
This blog post has been fun. Though this last post may seem a little redundant, it is here to sum up my associations. Sharks can’t hesitate because they will drown without moving forward. I can hesitate but that’s a choice I should not pick as often as I do. I have to go write fiction, and I must not hesitate once I get to that page. This post is done.
Thanks for reading.