Sometimes it depends on whether the shark decides to eat you or not
It is at times a dog-eat-dog world. Of course, growing up I thought it was a doggie dog world. I thought, why yes dogs do rule! Then somewhere in my mid 20s I learned the world was apparently a bit mean pitting dogs against dogs. Mind you I had seen cockfighting in the South Bronx. That, my friends, is a whole other story. Way before Michael Vick ruined his NFL career with his dog fighting ways.
But back to dogs, wait, no, sharks I am here to talk about sharks. I visited the Vancouver Aquarium last week so that I could get my son a penguin toy, including penguins socks. He is obsessed, obsessed, I say, with penguins. He is so obsessed that the one word he readily says in Spanish is penguinos. I was happy to go to the aquarium on my son’s behalf, especially since I was escaping a bit of a dreary conference where researchers couldn’t stop applauding themselves. I felt like I was attending a narcissists conference. I got to the Vancouver Aquarium on time so that I could attend the shark feeding. What a let down that was. There was a young man going on and on about how awesome sharks are and how we really should not fear them and that over 10 million sharks die a year at the hands of humans. Meanwhile, sharks do not readily eat humans. That is all well and good but I was there to watch the sharks feed because I did not get enough of that at my conference. Nor did I get enough of that at Wall Street when I lived in NY. The show just featured a few pieces of tiny fish on a long white rod and the sharks just kind of sniffed around, turned their noses up and looked menacingly out at us in the audience.
Boy must it suck to be fish bait and to just be sniffed at and left to hang on a rod? In the non-profit field in which I have worked for over ten years, there are also sharks in it. Sharks don’t just exist on Wall Street or Silicon Valley. And I mean the typical meaning of the human shark. Nasty, looking for a way ahead at all costs, yada yada yada. There have been those times when I have acted as a bit of a shark although not in that typical, just-explained, manner.
There have been times when nutty colleagues and petulant others in the field have tried to dangle some bait in front of me hoping that I would go just as crazy and lose it. Sadly for them, I just sniffed at them and walked away. When faced with screaming colleagues, I have often just sat there and smiled and then calmly noted they were in the wrong and told then I would not tolerate their behavior and that they could leave my presence. Nothing bothers an agitator more than being treated like rotten fish bait.
As I watched the shark feeding that was not, I remembered the Australian surfer Mick Fanning that fought off a large shark at a South African competition. Everyone thought he was going to die but rode out the waves with his body and mind fully intact. According to news outlets he may have punched the shark. When he was hailed as an amazing shark fighter during one the many interviews that he gave (or was cornered into), he noted that it was not all his dong. He explained that sometimes it depends on whether the shark decides to eat you or not. That day the shark decided to not eat him. Of course, sharks don’t eat humans. But, in the words of both Bobby Brown and Britney Spears, that is their prerogative.