Proverb: “Bite the shark first.”

Anonymous used to work as a junior lifeguard and had undergone rigorous training that included “common ocean safety, fitness practice, buoy swims, getting out of a riptide and rip current, and how to efficiently save someone.”  During this training, one thing that the trainees were taught was to “Bite the shark first” which meant that they must stay confident during a shark encounter.  It was imperative that when encountering a shark to “not draw attention and hold your ground because if they see you afraid, they see you as a predator.”  It was also emphasized to “remember you are in their home, so be respectful.”

This approach to challenging sharks reveals how to ameliorate frantic struggle with calm and cool confidence while also portraying how the human folk group reacts to villainized animals.  Oftentimes, the first initial reactions that fear induces are fight or flight responses whether it is trying to fight back, screaming, running, or covering our eyes.  This is made difficult when in a terrain different from the one that we have adapted to, but by staying calm, humans hold the power to apologize to sharks for invading their safe space.

Sharks have been villainized for decades through media (such as Jaws) and because of their optics (sharp teeth, large nature, etc.), yet it is important to keep in mind what we would do if we were in their shoes.  If someone barged into our own houses, we would choose offensive tacts in order to keep the intruder at bay and the others in the house safe.  Sharks have families and needs of their own that humans fail to protect and understand.  By biting the shark first, we are ironically not fighting back at all, but rather showing respect to sharks and their respective community.