Chicago dad takes his kids shark diving

 
 

By Christopher Garlington

Contributor
 

I almost lost both my children to sharks-not in a Shark Week way, but in a "we're-all-going-to-drown-here-in the-Gulf-of-Mexico-because-I-am-stupid" way.

Being idiots, [My Attorney] and I determined a Caribbean cruise would be the perfect way to introduce our children to the ways and wiles of indigenous cultures other than Bears fans. We hauled them onto a ship that hauled us all into the white hot oven called the Gulf of Mexico in August, known by its people as the Gulf of Don't Go Here in August.

It was so hot, deck chairs and passengers from Wisconsin regularly burst into flames. [My Attorney] would not cool off in the salt water pool as the nearby towel steward could not adequately convince her there was a functioning jellyfish filter. We watched TV in our cabin for most of the first day.

We'd booked carefully vetted onshore adventures specifically designed to educate our children in the thousand ways the world outside America can kill you.

As we sped out on a little harbor slip toward the middle of zilch, the captain offered us shots of homemade rum, which I felt bode poorly for us all as he took one for himself each time he gave one to someone else. By the time we stopped, he was drunk, some of the others were drunk, we couldn't see land, and he was throwing us all off the end of the boat. My kids couldn't swim. My wife was scared of waves. Still, we'd paid and everything, so we confidently threw our children into the Caribbean.

With sharks.

A few things were immediately clear:

We were insane.

There is no such thing as a perfectly harmless shark to a 6-year-old boy.

The calm sea only seems calm until you're fighting for your life and the life of your children as they climb backwards over your head screaming, "THOSE ARE REAL SHARKS, DAD!"

[My Attorney] looked up to see the boat drifting away from us. We'd been given clear instructions to wave our arms over our head if we got into trouble, a difficult maneuver if your arms are pinioned to your skull by a child screaming, "IT'S NOT LIKE SEA WORLD, DAD! WE'RE GONNA DIE!"

I managed to peel an arm out from under the kid and wave, then I remembered, the skipper is drunk. Then I remembered 'Left Behind'. I started screaming, too.

In hindsight, and in agreement with a court order from the skipper's lawyer, I admit, yes, 14 feet is not that far away and nurse sharks are perfectly harmless.

In my defense, I was being attacked by kids. I mean sharks. I mean rum.

 
 







 
 
 
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