Showing up for Sharks

Is there a single beach-goer who does not at some point during their splash, consider the horror of a ferocious finned confrontation? If yes, good for you.  Personally, I am happy to go running scared every outing that I am overcome by my irrational fear for these majestic creatures.

Irrational broken down by the dictionary, I assume reads, does not exist, stupid and wimpy.  I am that guy.  I stride out the back of my apartment and go confidently into the water at least five times a week.  Four of these outings end early because the irrational fear has won.  I can try all I want to logically brief myself. How I am more likely to lose a leg due to a falling helicopter on the day I win the lottery than get bitten by a shark.  I do try and I fail.

Last week I was a proud speck in the crowd at Justin’s Park Burleigh.  I was there to stand up for sharks.  The creatures which torment my daily recreational splashings.  I honestly love and respect these dinosaurs.  I, and I’m sure, most of you, had the announcements come through social media feeds.  “Sharks of more than three metres to be caught, shot and dumped at sea”.  Surely something could be done.  By me, the fool who runs from the water as kids go barrelling in on their boogie-boards.  I wanted to do something and thanks to Sea Shepard, I could.

It’s a sweltering hot day.  The crowd is humble at first.  There is a small line up to sign the petition.  I imagine it reads “Dear Mr Barnett (premiere of WA).  Please don’t be a small minded, pig-headed douche and leave the f*cking sharks alone!”  No doubt more delicately presented, but you catch the drift.

I sit with some friends and meet some fresh ones.  We chat gaily about Sea Shepherd, the motives of that Premier from the sest and about the hot chicks who also think it’s a good day to make a stand for the sharks.  I’m loving it!  I don’t even notice that my water bottle is keeping my beverage at thermos levels.

I decide that it’s best not to procrastinate too long.  Time to get off my backside and sign the damn petition.  I look behind and see the line has turned into a mob.  Shit.  Before my heart sinks too low the crowd is called to the water for a photo-shoot demonstration type performance.  Sounds awesome.

I get three steps from the shore.  It begins, that lousy irrational fear dialogue.  “What if I get bitten by a shark?  I know they can get you in less than two feet of water.”  Sigh.

The crowd cheers, the cameras click and the bikini’s bounce.  Done and done.  Congratulations Gold Coast.  And more importantly, with a sneaky pat on the back.  Well done me.  I got here.  I stood for the sharks.

At a personal level, today was certainly not just about the sharks.  It wasn’t even about making a difference.  It was about being there.  It was about being with others who were there.  If your community leaders decide that this coming weekend, they have a plan.  They have a plan and you believe the plan is shit.  Go to that place where others go to stand and call it.  Democracy is a doing word.  Today I did.  Thanks to everyone who spread the word and made it happen.  Rant over.

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