The Discovery Channel's Shark Week has become a summer institution and I think it's great. For my friend Nikki, it's basically a holy week, like Easter, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan all rolled into one, but with informative programming about sharks that kicks off about a month of her peppering us with shark facts at totally random moments. Sharks truly are misunderstood creatures that have far more reason to be afraid of humans than we have to be afraid of them: Sharks only kill about five humans per year while humans kill about 100,000,000 sharks. In fact, since 1580, there have been fewer than 500 fatal shark attacks. So calm down, everyone. You are more likely to be struck by lightening than you are to be attacked by a shark.
Sharks are apex predators, which means you should under absolutely no circumstances try to eff with a shark (and by that, I mean "willingly go near one, even if you're approaching it in a spirit of good will") because the shark can eff you up and eff you up good and doesn't give a flying fin about your intentions.
In honor of the five people a year who are actually killed by sharks, I thought I would show five people who got stupid around sharks, but lived because sharks are benevolent sea gods.
Cage-Diving With A Great White: Can You Not?
Clearly, this 11.5 foot Great White off the coast of South Africa saw the cage as a challenge. Like, "Oh, you don't want me in your space? Hmmm... I think I'm hungry for some irony! Nom nom nom nom nom!" Look, I know this is, like, a thing that people do. And when all is said and done it's probably not a terribly risky thing to do, but it's emblematic of humans feeling absolutely entitled to all aspects of the natural world, regardless of the risk or cost. Just leave nature alone, especially those aspects of nature that want to kill you.
"What We Have Here Is A Dead Shark... OR IS IT?!"
Nope. That shark is alive. And the dude knew it and picked it up anyway, which proves just how badass sharks are: even out of their element they can inflict some serious damage. It also proves the power of human hubris, which told this guy, "No, don't worry, bruh. This will end extremely well for you."
This Guy Who Thinks He's a Shark Whisperer and Gets Bitten in the Face
The only, only reason this dude doesn't top my list is that he is working with nursing sharks, which are basically the least aggressive toothed shark on the planet. Still: leave the damn sharks alone! If you want to swim with them, just observe them. These sharks do not owe you or the tourists you bring down with you kisses! Three cheers for the saucy minx that bit your lips! She has spunk and spirit! (But we're still glad you're okay. Please don't do that again.)
Surfing a Whale Carcass in Shark Infested Waters... It's Exactly What It Sounds Like
Because swimming with sharks isn't enough: let's swim with them in the middle of a feeding frenzy. I mean...there are no words for how remarkably stupid you are.
This Lady Who Thinks She's a Shark Whisperer
This is absolutely my least favorite of the bunch. Because everyone else is just kind of dumb, but this lady is dumb and crazy misguided. It takes a special kind of ignorant and self-centered to think swimming with one of the most aggressive, powerful sharks on the planet is reasonable behavior. "Oh. Great Whites are just so misunderstood. They just want to be loved! And the sharks know I mean them no harm and therefore would never do anything to hurt me." SHARKS DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU, SCUBA DIVER APPROPRIATELY NAMED OCEAN! Ask the Crocodile Hunter how smart it is to swim too close to a dangerous animal in the wild: oh wait, you can't, he was killed when he swam too close to a dangerous animal in the wild. It's true, we really don't have reason to fear sharks in our day to day lives, and yes they are misunderstood, but grabbing on to one to prove a point is stupid and encourages other idiots. There's more of her here...
As far as I know she wasn't harmed here and hasn't been harmed since, which is great, but it's entirely at the whim of the shark and not due to any mystical attitude she has.
So next time you're in the ocean, please, please don't try swimming with sharks. Just leave them alone. If you absolutely must fool around with a shark, might I suggest this one.
The only risk posed by this particular species is upstaging Katy Perry.
Images: Getty Images; YouTube; Giphy