dave bullisEach of the last three four days I’ve gone out swimming in La Jolla Bay. Usually I just think about how damn cold and out of shape I am, but Dave has a way of putting my mind on sharks. Big sharks. with big teeth. And as soon as we get far enough out where no one could possibly do a thing to help us, I start picturing a Great White or Mako knifing through the water and taking a big chunk out of my thigh … or maybe abdomen. The scene plays and replays in my head over and over again until it becomes trance-like and meditative.

So you can imagine my glee when I read in yesterday’s paper that “within less than a century, there will be no more large sharks in the world’s oceans.” Complete extinction. How wonderful … I felt at ease, convinced I’d be able to start concentrating on how cold and out of shape I am again. But then:

The waters off San Diego’s coastline serve as the most active nursery on this side of the Pacific Ocean for mako and thresher sharks.

And then! (I can’t believe I was stupid enough to keep reading)

We do know that makos grow to over 12 feet and 1,000 pounds; they slice through the water like a jet fighter at speeds that can have bursts of over 60 miles per hour. A few years ago, a 10-foot mako jumped out of the water and into the boat of a 69-year-old Fijian fisher. “Immediately, the shark proceeded to eat the fisherman,” according to a newspaper report.

What the fuck! Was that necessary? The rest of the column goes on to describe how Scripps reseachers are going through measures to protect the habitats of makos and great whites so that they won’t go extinct. I, obviously, think they’re a bunch of crazy sunnuvabitches. Especially, since groups of graduate students (Scripps is right were we go swimming) are going out along the coast to “chum the waters with chopped fish, and drop into the water dead mackerel with small transmitters lodged in their bodies.”

Let me tell you, this is not a good idea … not anywhere near where I swim. And I think the solution is chumming the waters with dead graduate students.

swim runOne of the main motivations for all this death-defying swimming, by the way, is that three of my graduate-student-hunting friends and myself are gonna swim/run the “self-transcendence” race in a couple weeks. A mile rough water swim followed by a 10-k run and none of us are even close to in shape enough to cross the finish line. Hopefully the vegan samosas will be motivation enough.