Long ago (about a month ago) when I promised that I had a tale to tell about the Jaws ride at Universal, I was unsure on whether or not I was really willing to share my shark attack shame with the world, as it has haunted me ever since.
This blog seems to have made me disregard all my shame, however (as you can see by the picture I posted of myself in that previous post), and so perhaps the hilarity of my shark-baiting days is Internet-worthy.
So I’m not sure whether this just happened to me, or if everyone goes through a shit-scared-of-everything phase, but in my tenth year on this planet, I went through an alarming year of being terrified of absolutely everything. Prior to this, I was actually a bit of a bad-ass thrill seeking ghost buster, but something changed on that one year and I could barely face my breakfast without the dread of possible death. Perhaps this was the start of my anxiety issues.
Anyway, during this year, I went on a family holiday to Florida (I must seem like a right Florida addict) to the wilds of Disney Land, and spent my time waltzing around with Goofy, Pluto and my other mates. Now, if any of you have been to Florida and frequented the Universal Studios theme park, you may be familiar with the Jaws ride. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is how it was:
Jaws was situated in a recreation of Amity Island, with idiots such as myself queueing up to head out as though on a boat trip. As could be expected (or not in my case), the boat is struck by catastrophe and veers off course through a warehouse in the pitch black, before it is attacked by Jaws himself: a great white shark(ish).
So there I was in the queue, no doubt full of delicious American scran (this was in the build up to my larger years) and ready to face my fears (lol). I had a little feeling of unease; I’ve never been a big fan of open water in general and as a rule don’t tend to venture into areas that you can’t see the bottom of, but I was not about to look like a wuss in front of my elder brother, or indeed my father, and so I stepped into our waiting ‘tour boat’ and got ready to be thrilled.
Well… Unfortunately for me and for the boat at large, I didn’t really take kindly to the boat’s departure. In fact, some might say that I was not a natural on the open seas, and should’ve been left ashore. The tears started falling as we left the queue by boat, and I was gripped by the feeling that I was genuinely about to be eaten by a shark. I mean, I literally thought that I wasn’t making it off that boat alive, and as this thought set in, so did the hysteria.
My wailing reached top decibels as we moved out of sight of the theme park, and I really lost my shit when we passed a ‘burning’ tour boat which had clearly been mauled by a genuine great white inside a theme park. Once we veered off course into the darkness of the warehouse, though, I truly came into my element. I tried to disembark the boat (although I don’t know how I hoped to survive the shark attack from the water), screaming at everyone to get me off and booting anyone in sight in the hope that they would be eaten first.
By the time the shark itself had made an appearance, I’m pretty sure I’d convinced half of the boat that Universal were in a conspiracy to feed us all the a real great white, and so when it popped up out of the water (it was made of fucking foam or something) most of the boat shit themselves, as I wept on the floor and prayed for a quick ending.
Well, you can all imagine my surprise when we arrived back at the dock safely, with not even a small puncture mark (and plus a few select bruises). My ‘performance’ was so impressive that a few of our fellow park-goers even congratulated me on being a good part of the ride (I was very into my amateur dramatics at this time). I was completely mortified.
My father, being the hilarious chap that he is, mugged me off about it for years after, and still ridicules me at any opportunity. He in fact bought me the Jaws t shirt that I am rocking in the fine photo from my trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a trip which saw me face down my fear of Jaws and go on the ride on my own without incident (although I was defo still apprehensive).
In fantastic news, they’ve now bulldozed the Jaws ride to make way for an extension of the Harry Potter celebrations at Universal – no more Amity Island, it’s now Diagon Alley! My prayers have been answered. Stupid shark.