The Great White Shark.

It weighs more than two tons. It has 230 sharp, flesh ripping teeth. It can attack its unsuspecting prey with stealth and incredible speed. Man and animals alike fear the Great White, and for a reason. It’s a killer.

But sometimes I feel bad for Great White Sharks. I mean, they don’t know that they are what they are. They don’t know that they are horrible, scary, hurtful, dangerous fish. They just think they’re fish, and they just do what they instinctually do to survive. They don’t think about it first. They don’t plot and scheme. Their biggest crime is getting hungry and handling it the only way they know how. And unfortunately, sometimes people get caught in their crosshairs.

We haven’t done much to help the Great White Shark. Spielberg put a horribly murderous face onto the species. He gave us all a monster to hate and loathe and fear. One that could (and would) attack anyone at any moment. One that acts not out of instinct, but out of aggression. Hollywood, and the world, has only engorged those ideas ever since.

Who cares? They’re just sharks right?

Maybe.

I think some people are like Great White Sharks.

They attack and rip apart their prey without warning. They are intimidating and vicious. They scare us. They have nasty tempers, and lash out, and criticize, and berate, and hurt others. They often live solitary lives and don’t get along well with much of anybody.  They don’t think before they speak, and they really don’t plot and scheme their cruelty. They’re just doing what they were taught to do, and sometimes people get caught in their crosshairs.

They also go about their days not knowing that they’re doing it. Not really.

Sometimes I feel bad for these Great White Sharks, too. I really think some people have no idea just how mean and vicious they really are. They have no idea why people fear them or why people give them so much distance. They don’t understand why people are hurt of offended by so much of what they say and do. They can’t hear the harshness in their tone, or the severity of their demeanor.

We all probably know people like that. Usually they’re family members or co-workers because we certainly wouldn’t keep people like that in our lives if we had the choice.

Anger, resentment, and gossip are their Spielberg. These people are convenient monsters for us to hate and loathe and fear.

And in that anger, resentment, and fear, so much emphasis is placed on what these people do, and rarely on the reasons they do it, what is hurting them so badly that they would do it, or what kind of dysfunctional previous generations have led the way to such ongoing monstrosity. We see only the sharp rows of teeth and the desire to feed. We don’t see the beautiful, albeit primitive, people in front of us.

I don’t know that there’s an easy or reasonable answer for it.

If I knew a Great White was circling the area where I usually swim, I wouldn’t paddle out and put myself in its path in hopes of better understanding it. And with people who are the same, you and I and everyone else can only stand to have so many bites taken out of us before we just can’t put ourselves in front of them any longer.

And that’s why it makes me a little sad for these people. These Great White Sharks.

There just aren’t a lot of places that exist for them where love can abound. Not for long, anyway. And when love can’t abound, nothing can pierce through that thick protective skin. And so they never learn that love works better. And they have little Great White Shark babies of their own who learn how to live and survive as Great White Sharks. They learn to live as the sharks that they don’t know they are.

Who cares? They’re just sharks, right?

I’ve distanced myself from the Great Whites in my own life lately. I’ve been protecting myself, not wanting to become their next meal. I think I’ll make it a point to go tell them both that I love them. That, I can do and hopefully walk away unscathed. As uncomfortable as it makes me.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Are there Great White Sharks in your life? How do you deal with them? Do you feel like they really know who and what they are?

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!