Monday, August 11, 2014

Shark! O, No!

Let’s dip our toes into the Shark Week waters with a riddle: Where are you standing if you are where two walls meet in a room where a government official confirms and certifies deaths? You’re in the corner of a coroner’s office, of course. I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with sharks. Read on.

Jaws is a classic, one of my favorite movies. Director Steven Spielberg didn’t rely solely on his “star,” the shark, to frighten us. Three full-sized sharks were constructed for the film, each weighing hundreds of pounds, though none of these elaborate props had to be on-screen to instill dread. Spielberg paired suggestive imagery with John Williams’ ominous score, and counted on us to imprint our own fears. We did.

Another prop, one tipping the scales at about 4.5 grams, couldn’t rely on mental imagery to let moviegoers know something was wrong. It had to project suffering. That’s why, about 10 minutes into the film, its dismemberment is displayed in black and (great) white. You can’t miss its weak Jaws line.

When the first victim, Chrissie, is found on the beach, Chief Brody returns to his office to fill out a police report. He punches the keys on his manual typewriter, entering the probable cause of death: SHARK ATTACK.

I know it’s difficult to avert your gaze from a SHARK ATTACK, readers, but you must. Sink your large, triangular, serrated teeth into the rest of Brody’s police report. It, like the mechanical sharks used in the 1975 blockbuster, has some glitches. If you want to examine Chrissie’s body to see if Brody’s report is accurate, you’ll have to head to the CORNERS OFFICE. There you’ll find missing parts. Not arms and legs. Letters and punctuation marks.

Our mandibular autopsy reveals that once Brody typed that N, he backed himself into a CORNER, figuratively and literally. He jumped the shark when he skipped the second O, and the Jaws-dropping run continued when he omitted the apostrophe.

CORNERS? Corrupt. CORONER’S? Correct!

Come on in, O and apostrophe, the water’s fine!

Duh-nun … duh-nun … duh-nun … duh-nun, DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN…

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