Land Sharks

Ienjoy going to scary movies because I like watching people behave irrationally. This is the same reason that I like watching “Divorce Court” and C-SPAN.

Recently, BYU’s Varsity Theater had a late-night showing of “Jaws.” This is a movie about a shark which somehow grows much larger than sharks normally do, and then decides, heck, as long as it’s this big, it may as well go around and eat people. Many of you have probably seen this movie, but you have not fully experienced it as I have until you have seen it on the big screen with 600 screaming college students.

And here’s what I mean by “behave irrationally.” There’s a part in “Jaws” where Richard Dreyfuss goes scuba diving in order to look at the bottom of a boat which has been attacked by the shark. He does this at night, out in the middle of the ocean, with only Robert Shaw there with him. So of course you are saying to yourself, “Lordy, what a fool he is. He must have Cheez Whiz for brains.” And of course you are right — he didn’t get eaten by the shark, but he did find the severed head of the former occupant of the boat, which I must say is not something I, as a scuba diver, would enjoy finding anymore than I would enjoy finding, say, helium in my oxygen tank — but at least you are presumably keeping quiet about the fact that Richard Dreyfuss is a moron. All the people at the Varsity Theater kept yelling and screaming that he was going to die if he went down there. Many of these people were screaming directly in my ear, using, as far as I could tell, megaphones. Many of these people will one day graduate from BYU, some of them with Honors.

Not that I am immune from this type of behavior myself. No sir or madam, I did my fair share of squirming and making violent noises, especially during the part where a swimmer is attacked and we are favored with a shot of his leg floating down to the bottom of the ocean (another item that I would not consider a great find if I were a scuba diver).

One particularly interesting scene was one in which Richard Dreyfuss — I hope he’s not this stupid in real life — got inside a shark cage and was lowered down into the water so that he could get close enough to the shark to be eaten by it. No, actually, he wanted to inject it with a lethal poison, but of course we all knew that wasn’t going to work. We knew that if the shark was going to be killed, it was going to be killed in some sensational way, such as being blown up, or struck by a bus on a busy highway.

Anyway, Richard Dreyfuss went down there in the cage, ignoring the cries of warning from the audience, and the shark came along and started hitting the cage, unexpectedly in many cases, because the movie people had carelessly neglected to put in the spooky “Here Comes the Shark” music. When this scene began, the girl sitting next to me, Katey, grabbed my arm and WOULD NOT LET GO, apparently thinking that if she clutched my arm, the shark would not be able to get her. “Darn!” the shark probably thought to itself. “If only that girl had not grabbed that boy’s arm, then I’d have been able to leap right off this movie screen and eat her up!” I finally had to pry her fingers from my flesh with a tire iron.

(Eric D. Snider is a freshman at BYU from Lake Elsinore, California, a town with a lake that Eric has always suspected had sharks in it.)

If there's anything I do well, it's taking ordinary, everyday things and making them seem funny. I tried to accomplish that with this column, and I think I succeeded, to some degree.