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
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.
A few things were immediately clear:
We were insane.
There is no such thing as a perfectly harmless shark to a
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
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.
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