Great White Nope / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Sometimes, the best nuggets of wisdom come from unexpected places.

I was talking with a friend about the movie "Jaws," specifically about the character of Quint. He's the grizzled shark hunter who sets out with the police chief and a marine biologist to dispatch the titular menace.

In a memorable scene, he recounts his tale of surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in shark-infested waters, and the subsequent sailor feeding frenzy that has haunted him ever since.

At the end of the movie (and I don't think this is a spoiler, since you've had 42 years to see it), Quint winds up in the mouth of the Great White he was hunting, horrifically killed in the very manner he'd escaped decades before.

I said to my friend, "You know, the tragedy isn't that Quint died. It was that he was eaten by a shark."

My friend considered this for just a moment. Then he said matter-of-factly, "Well, he kept them in his life."

And I thought, how true. How many times do we choose to make dangerous things a part of our lives, when avoiding them would be so obvious and easy? Just stay on land, man! It's a foolproof way to avoid being fish food. If you venture out into the open ocean, which is essentially the living room of nature's most perfect killing machine, and you don't make it back . . . well, that's on you.

That's all on you.