Monday, March 16, 2015

Shark Week

People don’t watch TV communally anymore.

Remember the “Charlie Brown” animated holiday specials? Everyone tuned in . . . at the same time. And it was all people would talk about the next day. Now we watch programs at any time, no matter when the shows air, thanks to our DVRs, DVDs and that cloud over our heads. And we do it alone.

People say going to the movies is still a communal experience. But is it? Most of the time the audience is texting, video gaming, Facebook updating -- we’re in our own worlds. In an age when technology has made communication so simple, communication is at its worst.

What we need is something to bring us together again.

I suggest the upcoming “Shark Week” on Discovery Channel, celebrating and investigating a creature that’s been on Earth more than 350 million years.

My wife said our 10-year-old son wouldn’t be interested in educational programming. The kid said Mommy wouldn’t be interested in something so scary.

“You’re both wrong,” I responded. “Everyone’s gonna love it.”

I decorated for the occasion two weeks in advance. Come Aug. 4, the house would be ready for shark TV 24/7.

I crafted a Shark Week door hanger for the front door, hung a shark flag out front. The table I use for the manger scene at Christmastime was perfect for the shark habitat I created using my son’s collection of toy shark figures, complete with miniature great white sharks, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks and even Bruce the shark from the movie “Finding Nemo.”

Do you think a tree with shark ornaments is too much? My wife thought so. She felt I was treating Shark Week like it was a holiday.

It is a holiday, a most wonderful time of the year, a time for family and friends to come together and pay tribute to a beast whose bite offers up to 132 pounds of pure force per tooth. With as many as 3,000 teeth, though typically only a few dozen, that’s a heck of a bite.

“Shark Week isn’t just another one of my wacky obsessions,” I told my wife. “It’s the last remaining communal event on TV, where we can come together and enjoy quality shark content and share our responses to what we saw with the rest of the world tuning in.”

She told me that the same communal phenomenon is true for the Oscars, “Survivor,” championship ball games and Southern California police pursuits.

She was right. Boy, was I wrong.

So that gave my wife and son their out.

As I sat alone on the living room couch, surrounded by massive amounts of shark décor, I let the fact that I’d be spending Shark Week unaccompanied sink in.

Fine, I thought. I’ll keep the joy of Shark Week to myself. But I got news for them -- no one else is gonna eat one piece of my shark-shaped cheesecake. And when Sharka Jaws comes down the chimney with his big bag of toys, there’ll be nothing for anyone but me.

My wife had news for me -- she also has access to the checking account. She and our son would do something fun on their own. And they’d get their own gifts.

It wasn’t long before they had a whole trip planned for the seven days of Shark Week. And we’d be spending the week apart, which was totally against my original intentions.

So I decided to add myself to their plans. And I’d just record all of Shark Week on our DVR to watch when we return.

Hey, sharks have been here since before the dinosaurs. They’ll be here when we get back.

-August 2013

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