Pop quiz: Why do people keep sending me shark videos?

Pop quiz! Great white sharks:

a) Can reach speeds of 25 mph

b) Can grow up to 20+ feet in size

c) Have a bite force of close to two tons

d) All of the above.


It’s d. Congratulations to those who passed. The rest of you get out.

I’m not kidding, get out.

Thank you. Now that THEY’RE gone, let’s talk about the subject of this pop quiz a little bit. That and how my friends and family are conspiring against me and want me to lose sleep.

I don’t know where my fear of sharks started, but it really does feel like it’s always been there. I don’t think it’s something I acquired. There was no single “Jaws” viewing that kept me away from pools for three weeks, no close calls with stabby teeth traps while surfing.

This fear of mine is DNA-deep. My genetic helixes are built from nasty maws and deep water.

And before you jump on your “Actually-Did-You-Know” soapbox, yes, I’ve read the stats. I get that sharks confuse us for seals and actually don’t like how we taste that much. I understand toilets, buckets, and room fresheners injure more people each year than sharks do.

Here’s the thing: that logic has always reeked of men made of straw to me. Because yeah, anything can hurt you. My daughter went through a head butt phase when she was three months old. I stub my toe probably thrice weekly. One time my friend Mitch bit into a pepporcini, which sent a sniper shot of the vegetable’s fluid right in my eye.

Those things aren’t PURPOSELY DESIGNED to kill. Sharks, on the other hand…well, think submarines with teeth. Actual sea monsters. Chomp Torpedoes ®. ♫ They eat you while you drooooowwwwwn. ♪

We on the same page? Good.

My family and friends understand my hyper-sensitive dread of these beasts. And in classic friends-and-family fashion, they MAKE SURE I know about about every attack that gets on the news. It’s practically science at this point, their reactions.

Take this doozy of an attack, actually caught on camera at a recent surfing competition.

Pop quiz! How many people sent me that video over the course of about two hours?

a) 1

b) 2

c) 3

d) 4


Again, d. And again, the rest of you get out.

I’m an easy target when it comes to this, I get that. “Sharks petrify Ryan, ergo, we show our tough love* by sending him horrifying videos of them.”

*palatable hate

But if this practice MUST continue, coordinate. Family members, friends, and enemies with letters A-M can send me digital nightmares Sunday through Wednesday, the N-Z crowd Thursday into Saturday. Something like that. This current system feels like getting the same office memo from 10 different bosses. And they all have their caps lock keys on.

My point is that everyone could be so much more efficient about this. Streamline, man. Tighten your belts. You wanna devote this many mismanaged resources to the same goal? In this economy?

Food for thought. (That’s what sharks say when they see smart people in the water, by the way.)

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