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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Shark alert

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We are being attacked. And this time the terrorists are not in the sky, they are not gunning us down in cafes; they are in the water. Sharks. I suspect they’re working for ISIS. In fact I am certain of it. This whole prehistoric predator thing is the perfect cover for a well-planned and co-ordinated operation to undermine our safety. Sharks are the lone gunmen of the sea.

At first we thought it was an isolated event. A surfer killed in Ballina. A swimmer eaten in the Bay. Then there was another attack, and then another. Pretty soon it started to look like a co-ordinated terrorist op.

Why are the sharks eating us? What have we done to make them angry? For years I subscribed to the belief that they didn’t like how we taste. It seems there is a new breed of Selachimorpha who have evolved into people-eaters. If not radicalised razor-toothed terrorists – is it possible that they have absorbed the ice molecules from our increased drug usage and are now on a psychotic rampage?

There has been talk of hunting down the ‘rogue’ shark. But I get the feeling it’s more than just one weirdo white pointer who’s pulled away from the pack. So there has been some suggestion of netting. But that is a crude method that harms other marine life. So I’ve come up with a few other suggestions to shark-proof our oceans. Mouth guards.

They work in football. If you can stop a big boofy bloke from chowing down on someone’s testicles mid-tackle with the aid of a little silicon buffer then why not try it in the sea? Of course there are challenges in getting individual moulds made, and the fitting process could be risky, but think of the lives we’ll save! This could spurn a whole new industry in oceanic orthodontistry.

There is also the therapy approach. Clearly sharks are just big fish looking for love. These sociopaths of the sea could be fitted with tiny microchips that play recorded affirmations on a loop ‘You are Loved’, ‘You are Worthy’, ‘You are Enough’. We could use Reiki and perhaps even massage to relieve some of that built-up tension. You know it can’t be easy maintaining your self-esteem when you are the constant target of fear and loathing.

Perhaps sharks aren’t actually attacking after all. Maybe they are ‘acting out’. We could try ‘Time Out’. Maybe at Seaworld. Every time a shark acts in a negative manner we don’t verbalise our disapproval, we just lock them in a glass tank and watch them swim around and around. Maybe sharks need a star chart. Every time they do something positive they should be rewarded. This helps to reinforce positive behaviour. When you think about it sharks only get attention from their negative behaviour, so I guess it’s no wonder if they are feeling depressed and lonely that they don’t pop up and eat one of us from time to time.

I believe all sharks need is unconditional love. Group hugs. Instead of swimming away, maybe we need to swim towards them singing ‘You are a child of the universe’. Maybe they need understanding to help break the cycle of violence that has led to their impulsive criminality. Inside every big shark is a little baby shark that also wants to eat you.

They really do need to work on their image. For a start they look terrifying. The whole four-metre-long glassy-eyed stare, giant jaw full of serrated teeth is really intimidating and frankly does nothing to promote their positive image. Sharks aren’t helping themselves here. They need to soften their look. How about a red nose and a clown hat on their dorsal fin?

My final approach I believe could be used in conjunction with the other approaches. We need to encourage them towards the vegan diet. Now these dudes have been following the Paleo regime since the dawn of time (and note to fans of the Paleo way, while they have survived, they haven’t actually evolved much). The ‘Vegan Shark Project’ would start with our dropping fish-shaped quinoa balls along the coast line, avocado nori rolls, deep-fried tofu rings and kale chips.

Okay, so you think this is ridiculous? My final suggestion is that we accept that the sea is the sea and that no matter how much we try to control it, it is not and will never be a safe place. The sea is a wild and dangerous place. May it always be.

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  1. The solution is simple, just feed them. Try silly old men who ride bicycles and wear budgie smugglers. The sharks will be better off and so will the country.


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