Bad Fish

if I were that photoshopped surfer, i would die of sheer terror, because JAWS will never let me see that shadow of death for the dolphin it is

by chelsea schuyler


So you may have heard the sad news of a British guy on his honeymoon in the Seychelles getting attacked by a shark and dying of wounds inconsistent with life. Total bummer for the wife. The astronomical thing is that it’s the second fatality from a shark in two weeks in the same area.

So while everyone’s not swimming, allow me to defend the shark just a bit.  Not this particular shark, obviously a Lamnidae Lector, but sharks in general, cuz everyone’s all “are sharks getting more vicious?” and this must be addressed. Yes, shark attacks have increased dramatically over the last 100 years, but it’s not because sharks are increasingly evil, but because taking a snorkeling honeymoon wasn’t exactly the most accessible option in 1905 (or reportable). I could go on, but I’m probably preaching to the choir (how is ‘choir’ not spelled with a q?) and I’d rather talk about where where you can go to learn more about why sharks aren’t evil: ISAF.

International Security Assistance Force?

NO!   International Sailing Federation?

NO!  The International Shark Attack File?

Yes and yes.  I swear this is a real thing, with an actual shark fin logo.  Isn’t it fantastic, what happened to honest names like that? It’s rare to find anything so unresuméd these days.  That’s a half decent band name let alone an important data resource which I would expect to be more like Ichthyology Risk and Endangerment Collection Consortium.

john goodman saves us all

Naturally the main reason for this File is to keep the facts accurate and deflate our arachnophobia-level galeophobia (fear of sharks, galeos = greek for shark), but without even trying, their website is endlessly entertaining.  “Menstruation and Sharks” is one link.  Ladies, surely we can all recall a time a friendly neighborhood dog went right for it, anyway…hey, let’s go swimming!

I recommend the Relative Risk list – the chances of death in your lifetime due to various causes compared to the chances of death by a shark.  No surprise, shark death is the most improbable (1 in 3,748,067), but the list is amusing nonetheless. Included is Fireworks (1 in 340,733), Accidental Poisoning (1 in 193), and my personal favorite, Air/Space Accident (1 in 5,051).

don't do it!

Really, air and space?  So, falling from trampolines, birds in jet engines, and Apollo 13ing are all in the same category? I LOVE it! I mean, I get it. Death by arsenic-laced (whoops!), freeze-dried ice cream while on the Mir – more likely than a fatal shark attack.

But have no fear Jaws lovers, death by shark is rare, but injuries are a national past-time. In Florida since 1959 there have been 9 fatalities, but 603 injuries due to attacks! They sort of skim over this at the File, probably cuz it doesn’t help your blood-curdling terror as some slick-skinned fin is surrounding you and your lone buoy in the heartless ocean. Oh it’s cool, he’s probably just tasting me, and I have so much control and ease of escape given I’m a terrestrial mammal up to my chin in oxygen-depriving liquid spanning for miles on end housing thousands of sharks now making a b-line for that pie-on-the-window-sill smell of a wound bleeding profusely, so just stay calm.

To their credit, included is a list of injuries due to home-improvement equipment compared to sharks. Apparently in comparison to the 16 shark attack injuries suffered in 1996, there were 1,567 injuries due to

vs. shark? no.

“toilet bowl products.” Somehow I feel like the shark injuries were a tad more injurious, but whatever.

I didn’t say I was going to waylay your fear of sharks, I just want you to know that your missing arm is not because they’re evil. They attack because they can and they’re curious and we kinda smell like food. They’re above us in the food chain and we totally can’t handle it so they’re labeled evil. *ahem* wolves and bears *ahem*

If you do happen to be attacked, the International

data entry

Shark Attack File would appreciate it if you would fill out their questionnaire to be submitted to Richard Dreyfuss at your earliest convenience. The first question requests your contact information, the second is multiple choice:

General Outcome of Attack

( ) fatal

( ) non-fatal

Very warm and caring of them.  I guess this is from the people who brought you “International Shark Attack File.” Also look for “Shark behavior at time of initial strike,” of which one of the options is:

( ) attack did not occur in water

For which I submit a vehement ?



  1. “…wounds inconsistent with life…”
    All time favorite!!

    Toilet bowl brush? My roommate fully believes in their hazards, that why she never goes near one! (Ohhh, I wish that were a joke)


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