Each week, Bro Down Editor-in-Chief Josh Klein assigns the writers of Bro Jackson a hot button topic and let’s them freestyle.
Here are some topics I was hoping this Bro Down would spark entries about:
The San Jose Sharks
Sharks vs. Jets
That glorious sketch from “SNL” where Norm MacDonald is the leader of a gang that breaks into song
The Miami Sharks
“A Shark Tale” starring Will Smith
Shark Bites the gummy candy (black shark = best flavor)
“#Sharknado” (Duh Doy)
I have always felt as if I would be very good in survival situations. Much like Fantastico, I have a quick wit and a dash of cunning, and if needed, the knowledge to make it through a sticky situation. Confronted by a bear? MAKE YOURSELF BIGGER. Bitten by a snake? SUCK THE VENOM OUT. Crazy girlfriend? GIVE HER SOME ICE CREAM. 1 And everyone knows what to do when confronted with a shark. PUNCH THAT MOTHER IN THE NOSE. That’s right, Jaws. I’m ready for you. I truly believe that if a 10-ton shark was swimming around me and had that bite-y look in it’s eyes, I would stay calm and collected, then Mike Tyson that thing right in the sniffer. BACK UP SHARK, LUNCH TIME IS GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT.
Hold on a second.
Have you ever tried to punch through water? Your fist goes really slowly. Now I’m starting to remember those dreams I have where I’m trying to run away from a murderer, 2 and assume that’s how it will be while I’m trying to Pacquiao this pachyderm. 3 I take it back. I would be terrible in this survival situation. Just call me Nemo aka Shark Bait. 4
I never went through a sharks phase. And by that I mean I never had a point in my life where I was altogether consumed with learning about the creatures. I’ve seen “Jaws,” I mistakenly watched “Open Water,” and I love the sharks on “Finding Nemo.” If anything, I guess you can say I’ve always been an under-the-radar supporter of the ocean’s greatest predator.
A couple of years ago, I took a cruise with some friends, and when we were deciding on what excursions to choose, one of the options was swimming with sharks off the coast of the Bahamas. You’d paddle out a small ways from the boat, grab onto a rope, and the crew would chum the waters, enticing the sharks to come around and start feeding, all while you hung on and took it in. None of my tripmates were in the least bit interested in what they deemed a “terrifying” experience, but I was. When we ended up not doing it, I was bummed, although I did get to hang out with a sweet dolphin named Jonah instead. I’ve got 1,000 words on him if you’re into it, hit me up on Tumblr.
Sharks are like soccer for Americans, interesting but relatively unnoticed until something big comes along, like the release of “Jaws” or the news of all those attacks off the coast of Florida that dominated the summer of 2001. And, just like everybody’s suddenly a soccer fan when the World Cup rolls around every four years, everybody’s a shark fan when “Shark Week” hits the airwaves. I don’t know what it is about sharks that make us turn into fairweather fans. Maybe the beasts contain too much majestic, unbridled power for us to care about every single day without going crazy. Maybe we keep our casual interest as some sort of tantric build-up throughout the year so that when it’s time for “Shark Week,” we can release our crazed interest in one burst of orgasmic satisfaction.
All I know is that if you’re ever attacked by a shark, you’re supposed to punch it in the nose. Doing just that will forever be on my (chum)bucket list.
I had a bunion corrected back when I was 26 or 27. Most boring surgery ever, am I right? Well, as always when you wear a cast and are on crutches, everyone in the entire world asks you what happened to your foot. After a while, I developed a stock answer that I gave so many times, I still have it memorized.
You: “Oh man, what happened to your foot?”
Me: “Well, the long answer is that I was swimming with the sharks off the Great Barrier Reef and got a little too close to a nasty looking nurse shark, who feinted at me three different times before I bonked it on the nose and then turned tail to swim for my life. The shark flinched at first but it nipped at my foot one last time as I was screaming back to shore and nearly took my big toe off. Lucky for me, a super hot lifeguard arrived right at that moment on a waverunner and scooped me up out of the water. My toe was barely hanging by some sinews when I made it back. They’re pretty prepared for that stuff though, so it was immediately stabilized and I was airlifted to a Sydney hospital, where they performed miracle reattachment surgery . . . and the short answer is that I had a bunion corrected.”
The only shark I care about when I’m not swimming in tumultuous tides is Mark “The Shark” Titus. Not only does he have a cool rhyming nickname, but he’s hilariously funny in two different places: On the basketball court and in his writing. Titus was the token Steve Novak of Greg Oden and Mike Conley‘s AAU team, and rode Oden’s coattails to OSU, where he served as team manager before injuries (and an ambitious power play by Titus) pressed him into service as a team walk-on. He didn’t do much in his stint with the team, so he took the opportunity to do things like push Evan Turner’s buttons and watch a teammate’s groupie satisfy her oral fixation in a hotel room. He invented the Trillion, a stat that gauges how inherently useless you are on the court. The goal is to be put into the game and not contribute on the stat sheet. As the white kid on the end of the bench, Titus figured he was getting mocked anyway, so he did it to himself, starting a blog around his experience, Club Trillion. Titus parlayed the surprising success of his blog into a job writing for Grantland and a book deal. The book was a quick read but pretty funny, and I think pretty much everyone except Daequan Cook would enjoy it. 5 And you have to appreciate the fundamentals montage.
Sharks inspire mild hatred and tepid nostalgia to me. I kind of despise the San Jose Sharks because they are so good and have Joe Thornton, but it’s still the NHL and my Dallas Stars have been irrelevant for a while now. The nostalgia comes in the form of this, from a simpler time when our baseball stars and mutated shark men were all on steroids:
Oh, this is about the actual fish? They’re OK I guess. And terrifying. I’ve always been partial to hammerheads for looking generally ridiculous.
“Sharknado” is overrated.
My wife and I fell for “Sharknado” by way of DVRing its cable television debut. Camp is an underrated staple of cinema, sure, but crowd-sourced camp is pointless. And ever since “Snakes on a Plane” went back and had Samuel L. Jackson work in the line about “motherfucking snakes” after the Internet pleaded, it set a dangerous precedent. “Sharknado,” from its cast of memorable personalities to its pointed premise and its inevitable sequels, bet on a bevy of concurrent social media updates and won. The harm in genetically engineered bad movies is that they amplify our age’s harmful deferral to irony. It’s a defense mechanism that throws a cheap Insta-sheen on all our Facebook movements. Like it’s OK for people to be really patriotic and it’s OK to be kind of over it. But half-assed “Merica” sentiments are dishonest and mean-spirited because they make fun of southerners that, what, are really into America? America rocks. Freedom isn’t free. I believe that shit.
And when we don’t stand for anything of substance, we’ll fall for “Sharknado.”
Another note about sharks: They are fascinating and grand. “Shark Week” goes down August 4. The Discovery headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. commemorate the week with a giant inflatable shark on their building and public screenings. It’s the best. That isn’t ironic.
In the ’80s, I still had a lot to learn. I thought Linda Carter was the most amazing, brilliant, and beautiful woman that ever was and ever would be. I thought Volleyball was Bolleyball. And I thought a Card Sharp was a Card Shark. But this last one wasn’t on me. It was the game show “Card Shark’s” fault.
My brother, sister, and I watched a lot of television back then. Why go outside and play when you can eat Pringles and watch game shows and soap operas? One of our favorite game shows was NBC’s “Sale of the Century,” hosted by Jim Perry. Perry also hosted “Card Sharks.” While “Sale of the Century” required contestants to know factoids about history, geography, and politics, “Card Sharks” required contestants to be able say two words: Higher. Lower. That’s it. Thousands of housewives likely became degenerate gamblers because of this show as they watched people with intelligence equal to theirs win cash and prizes not through knowledge or skill, but luck of the giant deck of cards. I know there are plenty of people out there who are card counters and would have killed on that show, but I’m guessing Sherri, the stenographer from Hannibal, Mo. and Gary, the dentist from Orlando, Fla. weren’t two of them.
Sidenote: “Friends“ Season 2, Episode 10 has Ross argue with his Bizarro self, Russ, over the terms card shark and card sharp. Depending on the level of your patience for Ross, it’s either a doubly fun scene or a double migraine.
- I kid, I kid. Kind of. ↩
- Everyone has those dreams you have where no matter how hard you push, you can’t move any faster. Or, if you’re a server, you have twenty tables and don’t know how the computer works. Or the table is in the middle of the river and you have potato skins for them. Don’t pretend you’re better than me. ↩
- That’s not technically correct, but it is a beautiful turn of phrase ↩
- #nailedit ↩
- Based on Titus’ account of his teammate, I’m not sure that Cook is literate ↩