March 10, 2012.
Since he's not here lets talk about Steve. Steve's wife Kim is an accomplished basket weaver. About a month ago Steve was dutifully walking across the cay in search of palm fronds to feed Kim's basket weaving addiction.
You can't use just any old fronds. It has to be a certain shoot from a specific type of palm. He left the trail and pressed into the underbrush to grab one of these special shoots when a piece of the undergrowth pierced his skin. A small broken branch stabbed him near his anklebone leaving him with a small bloody puncture wound.
Over the course of the next few days he cleaned and cared for the wound but it would not heal. It was red and constantly oozing so he started a course of antibiotics with no appreciable difference. It was sore to walk on to the point of him having to even miss a few happy hours. He was really beginning to worry because his burnable garbage was starting to pile up. And then he saw it.....
Protruding from the cut was a tiny piece of wood. He got out the tweezers and managed to get a tenuous hold on the sliver and began to pull. It turned out to be a splinter. But not just any splinter.
Soon after healing, one of his first in the water adventures was a very special shark encounter. He was working a coral head when a largish shark meandered into the area. Steve stopped what he was doing and paid attention to the shark. The shark seemed to make a conscious decision to quit his wandering and see if he could make Steve soil himself.
The shark slowly, but very deliberately turned and headed straight for Steve. Steve's response was to backpedal away from the shark as he got closer and closer. The shark eventually ended up with his head between Steve's fins as he swam backwards. Steve finally had to firmly poke the shark on the snout with his spear to get him to dart away.
Like most people my knee jerk reaction to Steves actions was “way to go, close call, etc.” That is until I had time to sit back and think about the whole scenario a bit. Then I realized, MISTAKE, a big giant hairy mistake.
Sharks go through life with that whole “man eater” rap hanging over their heads. Its gotta be hell on their social life. People expecting you to be a certain way before they even know you. Its probably a lot like somebody reading your blog. Anyway, I'm thinkin' that the guy in the gray suit was just lonely. He saw Steve and decided to make his move and befriend a stranger. I know, at first glance, befriending a shark sounds stupid, it would be more like he was a pet than an actual friend. But what better boat pet could there be? You could name him Ronald and he could live under the boat. You wouldn't have to feed him or walk him and no cage to clean.
How cool would it be to have your pet shark, Ronald, swimming along under the boat as you made your way back to the states. If I had one he could follow us back to Annapolis and live under the boat all summer. Yeah, I know there'd be some people that wouldn't immediately embrace Ronald. So many people have hangups about those that aren't “just like them”.
Just think how much better a job the bottom cleaning diver would do as soon as you made sure he knew that Ronald was keeping an eye on him. Instant work ethics. Think of the hours of fun I could have sending Ronald blasting out to intercept those ridiculous uber yuppies on their paddle boards.
Steve, all I can say is “opportunity lost big guy, opportunity lost”.