In 1975, I was 10 years old when “Jaws” the movie came to the theater in Talladega.
This was when the theater was still on The Square. My older cousin, Janelle, took her young sister, Cheryl, and me to see this thriller. I was so excited to get to go to the movies with someone other than my mother. I should have known this movie was not for a fat, stupid kid to see!
Everything went great for the first part of the show.
I’ll admit I was scared by the music and the suspense, but I maintained my “cool” all the way to the part where a severed head pops out of a hole in the boat and scares Richard Dryfuss, a scuba diver.
At that point, Janelle screamed and threw her popcorn, which caused her sister to do the same. So being the only male present in our group and knowing I should be brave and protect them, I acted like an adult. In my mind.
In actuality, I jumped from my seat and ran screaming from the theatre. It took two ushers and Janelle to get me back in my seat. That should have been the end of my fear, but oh no, nothing comes natural to me as does irrational fear.
For starters, I would no longer take a bath. I just knew that big shark would swim up through the drain and get me. It was a shower or stink.
No more swimming anywhere either! I know for a fact that jaws lived in a creek in Horns Valley. That summer pastime ended. You could forget getting me near the beach on vacation. After all, sharks can swim up onto the beach, can’t they?
My mother thought I was crazy at best, but as long as I was not causing trouble, she was OK.
I got over my fear of the tub and the creek, but I still will not go into the ocean. I’m older and wiser now, but not totally crazy. I know he is waiting on me to get into the big open water.
To a shark, I’m the other white meat, fat and juicy! He will have to swim way up onto the beach to get me -- at least 100 yards or more -- and he better be fast on land, because as soon as I see him, I’m gone! My wife can fend for herself; all I have to do is outrun her.
David Sparks is a contributing columnist for The Daily Home.