A Shark Tale (AST)

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by Arthur M.M. Krolman: Dear
Dollar, I’ve Found Someone Else. Hope We Can Still Be Friends. Love,Me

 

 
 

Robert's great-grandfather,
Ezekiel Eiger, was the proprietor of the Grand Dizzy Caribbean Island
Resort. Children would beg their parents for trips there. It was
a magnificent magical place for the whole family. A sand bar bridge
connected the island to the mainland — the magical pathway to the
resort. Families would wade through the crystal clear tropical water
past exotic dangerous-looking jellyfish, a porter following with
their steamer trunk floating on a big inner tube. Mothers would
emerge like Aphrodite from the surf, Mr. Eiger would claim to smiling
fathers, as his staff welcomed new arrivals with trays of Planter's
Punch right there. The children frolicking nearby on the white sand
beach. It was little wonder that loyal customers would return year
after year. Wading across a sand bar to paradise. Paradise forever.

Or so they
thought.

Troubling news
reports started to trickle in one fall. The reports were spotty
and hard to believe at first for many loyal Dizzy customers. Sharks?
Come on, really? A gang of sharks had been sighted by some late
summer guests. Strange blue sharks harassing guests as they waded
across the sand bar. They were randomly obnoxious and intrusive
changing their methods weekly. At times they would brush along your
body or between your legs. Other times they would prod with their
snouts, sometimes quite aggressively. A frightening invasion of
privacy. A porter, traumatized by a particularly unpleasant encounter,
walked off the job. As reports became more widespread, Dizzy guests
didn't know what to think and many tried to rationalize this new
part of the resort experience.

"Well
they do scare off the jellyfish," some would point out as they
waded ashore. Mr. Eiger confirmed this was indeed true, while neglecting
to say that it had been a long time since a jellyfish had hurt anyone.

Sometimes the
sharks would prod your front and sometimes your back. If you held
your hands on one side they would snout you on the exposed side.
"So at least they give you a choice," was the tortured
logic of a few. And Mr. Eiger would nod. "I kind of like the
physical attention!" some would saucily suggest.

A steadfast
objector to the whole idea of exposing your family to obnoxious
sharks in order to get to the resort would be met with the coup
de gras, "What makes you so special? Are you some kind
of prude? Here's the bottom line: if you don't like it, then just
stay home." Mr. Eiger would cringe a little, but say nothing.

Resourceful
customers figured out that if you offered the sharks a juicy morsel
or two as you passed by, and were properly deferential, they were
less aggressive. But later, the sharks started giving a little bite
to those trying to cross the sand bar with no treat or trying to
put them off. "Well, that just serves you right," those
unfortunates might be admonished by fellow guests. "The poor
sharks only bite when they have to. What made you think not to be
properly nice to them?" What devilishly clever creatures, Mr.
Eiger marveled. He instructed his staff to offer even more and better
table scraps from the resort's dining rooms to show his deference.
The sharks were nicer to him, for a while.

Not everyone
was convinced by these rationales. Independent-minded objectors
still felt strongly that this new pathway to the Grand Dizzy Caribbean
Island Resort was indecent and increasingly dangerous.

A concerned
father wrote a polite but firm letter to Mr. Eiger, "My wife
and I would love to take our children to your resort, but with these
new obnoxious sharks, now we don't know how to get there. Please
advise."

Mr. Eiger responded
via one of his staff, "Dear customer, we don't regulate the
sharks…so there’s really not much we can offer."

"Why write
to Eiger?" many criticized, "He didn't put the sharks
there. Maybe you should appeal directly to the sharks. Appeal to
their sense of decency maybe." But the father knew there was
no sense appealing to sharks. They were not decent. They were sharks.
Unlike civilized humans, they instinctively used violence or the
threat of violence to prosper. The best thing to do, he knew, was
to avoid sharks whenever possible.

That family
made other vacation plans accordingly. So did others.

The sharks'
behavior grew more erratic and obnoxious as the months went by.
Gradually the rationalizers diminished in numbers as did the loyal
customers that once patronized Mr. Eiger's formerly grand resort.
Fewer staff now, maintenance work postponed. And it showed. The
pathway to paradise grew weedy and ugly.

Mr. Eiger lived
out his days in penury, blaming others for his misfortune. To anyone
who would listen.

Today the Grand
Dizzy Caribbean Island Resort is a distant memory to only a few
old timers. Even Robert doesn’t remember this old family tale anymore.

But the sharks
remember. They live among us now.

December
3, 2010

Arthur
Martin McCannell Krolman [send
him mail
] is a civilized businessman who lives in Boston with
his wife and two children. In February 2010, he published The
Scary Story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Box of Free
Money
, a different tropical island story about shark-approved
counterfeiting, ie. central banking.
Visit his website.

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