07 Nov Shark bait
Surviving to tell the story obliges me to do so
José Mollá‘s New Age musings about the greater meaning of the episode conclude with this:
Seeing a fin in the water is not nearly as alarming as not seeing that we spend our lives worrying about what’s irrelevant. I’m convinced that the shark didn’t come to take a piece of me but instead to leave me with something. A kind of wisdom that I will never ever forget, written with eighty stitches and my own blood.
A more detached reading suggests a less uplifting lesson familiar to every fulltime resident of a beautiful place where the rich vacation: An American* playing in an exotic locale where he has no particular reason to be beyond adventure and narcissism does something he knows to be stupid, suffers predictable consequences, commandeers the meager resources of a third world country to his rescue, buys and bullies his way to the head of the queue past ailing local people of lower station, then romanticizes the affair as a means for the anthropomorphized shark not to bite an intruder but to bestow “a kind of wisdom” upon him.
Fiddlesticks. The shark had no purpose beyond repelling an intruder—and perhaps getting lunch in the bargain. Not a bad plan, that.
[Update: José Mollá is Argentinian by birth, American (USian) by residence and overseas behaviour. Don’t bother looking for critiques in the comment section of his Posterous page. He deletes anything less than adoring.]