Mr. Jaws brings back memories

Mr. Jaws by Dickie Goodman was a novelty track made up of a sampling of popular tunes back in 1975. Goodman used snipets of popular songs to accomplish a muscial interview with a shark. The song brings back memories for me of fun in the sun on my first trip to Myrtle Beach, SC and an up-close and personal encounter with some sharks.

“You shouldn’t have seen that new Jaws movie,” my mom told me. “Now go back in the ocean and have fun.” What my mom was responding to was my cries that I just saw a group of sharks swimming pretty darn close to where I was riding the waves. 

It took my mom less than five minutes to convince me that I was just letting my imagination get the better of me. 

“You’re right,” I said as I waded back into the ocean, a little embarrassed by my immaturity. I was 12 at the time, and I had just seen the movie Jaws the week before. If I remember correctly, it had taken me a few days just to get back in the bathtub after that movie. I saw sharks everywhere; there were even a couple under my bed.

No sooner was I was back in my wave-riding position, when a lifeguard hopped off his stand blowing his whistle. He was waving frantically for us to come in. Then I noticed about five dorsal fins between me and the shore.  I realized I couldn’t go forward, and I didn’t dare go backward, so I stood there. The lifeguard pushed his white, wooden boat through the breakers; then he began to paddle out to where I was. There was an elderly couple out deeper than me.

Being that I was a boyscout at the time, chock full of courtesy, kindness, bravery, reverence and all the rest, I recall hoping with all my might that he would pick me up first.  But for the longest 3 minutes of my life, I watched as the lifeguard paddled right past me.

What I remember next must be an exaggeration of the facts because I clearly remember walking on water. As soon as I finished watching in disbelief as the lifeguard nearly ran me over, I realized the fins had temporarily vanished.

All I can remember next was seeing my mom’s shocked expression as I shot through the water like a torpedo.

A little while later, maybe 30 minutes or so, I noticed a few policeman running down the dock just beside where we had been swimming.  I later found out a couple of neanderthals had been fishing for sharks with pot roast soaked in blood.

Needless to say dumb and dumber got to spend the night in jail. I, on the other hand, got as much pizza as I could eat from my mom – plus the Eagles’ brand new album “One Of These Nights.”

Whenever I hear Mr. Jaws by Dickie Goddman, it brings me back to my first trip to Myrtle Beach . . . especially tonight just a few hours before I leave to take my 12 and 10 year old sons to Myrtle Beach – 33 years after my close encounter with Mr. Jaws.

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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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One Response to Mr. Jaws brings back memories

  1. Daisy says:

    Oh my gosh! How scary! Great story to tell the grandkids someday though. 🙂 I bet you never let your mom forget that one. She should have given you all the pizza you could eat AND ice cream that day! So does playing that album make you have nightmares about sharks? 😀

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