When I was six, some bright spark decided to repaint the school swimming pool. The blue background was probably necessary to disguise the yellow water, but it was a pool for children, so they didn’t stop there.
Soon a dozen colourful starfish and octopuses crawled across the pool floor. I was as happy as you can be about cute creatures painted in a pool two degrees above having icebergs. (Actually, it was probably only the urine content that kept the pool from freezing entirely.)
Then there was the shark.
At the deep end of the pool, where the water was green and dark and burned the back of your nose when you tried to put your feet on the bottom, they painted a shark.
It swam out of the pool wall in the shadow of the diving board, mouth agape, teeth ready to savage any child foolish enough to paddle by.
It probably looked something like this:
What I remember looks more like this:
I accidentally zoomed right in on that picture when I was downloading it and nearly gave myself a heart attack. Try it, I dare you. (Okay, maybe I have a bit of a thing about sharks, but it’s not like it’s irrational. They are trying to eat me.)
Tell me that wouldn’t terrify you if you saw it on the side of a pool.
I wracked my brains trying to figure out why anyone would paint something so scary in a kids’ pool and concluded there’s only one possible explanation: it was a devious scheme.
Give children a pool, and they’ll make an earnest attempt to drown in it. Every time a child attempts to drown, some poor adult has to jump in and fish out the enterprising child. Did I mention the pool was freezing cold and more than five parts per hundred urine?
To save themselves this unpleasantness, the adults devised a simple solution to keep children out of the deep end.
It was there for years, and scores if not hundreds of children suffered its gaze. As I recall, it was still there when I left for high school.
Thanks to that shark, I never drowned in the pool. I also never learned to swim. I consider it a fair trade.
Don’t stop reading, because I have questions for you, but first…
This is a subheading
Sorry about that, but Yoast SEO (I don’t know either, but it’s supposed to help people find me, which I figure is good because I’m probably lost) was being really judgmental about my post not having any subheadings and I couldn’t stand the guilt any longer. I get guilted by my fridge for leaving it open, by my inbox for always having a million messages, and now this.
But as I was saying, I have questions!
Was I total wuss for finding a cute painted shark scary? Make me feel better-what ridiculous things frightened you as a kid?
(That second shark picture still freaks me out every time I look at it.)
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