Is it safe to go back in the water?

When I read in the newspaper that Jaws would be shown at a local pool, I had to go. The last time I saw it in its entirety was in a Madison, Wisconsin theater in 1975. When a bloated dead guy floated out of a capsized boat’s window, I kicked the seat ahead of me so hard, I bruised my leg. I didn’t want to take a bath for a week.

The idea of allowing people to swim while watching a film that terrified me forty years ago was too much. This was an adventure I didn’t want to miss.

When we arrived, we staked out our turf across the pool from the big screen. The showing was free so I expected a mob. A surfing music band played poolside to get us in the mood.

photo 2 (5)

There were about as many people in the water as out of the water.

I thought swimmers would flee the pool and join the other half watching from the safety of the grassy slope after the 4th of July shark attack. Da Dum. Da Dum. Da Dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum… We all knew what was coming. Many brave souls bobbed on the water and continued to watch. Jaws at the pool

I had forgotten about the humor. In the beginning of the movie, Brody (Roy Scheider), freaks himself out after studying a shark book complete with photographs of attack victims. He orders his sons to climb out of their moored boat. His wife (Lorraine Gary), thinks he’s overreacting. She glances at the book then screams for them to “Get out of the boat!”

Later, Quint (Robert Shaw) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfus), compare scars on their arms and legs. Hooper says he has the old curmudgeon beat. He points to his heart and says, it was broken by a girl long ago.

The one-liners, “That’s one bad hat, Harry,” and,  “We’re going to need a bigger boat,” by Brody, tempered the horror. The slower pacing subdued the tension. We needed the downtime to slow our beating hearts. “Here’s to swimmin’ with bowlegged women.” Quint cracked me up.

As Jaws ramped up with violence, the pool emptied. Could you blame them?

Jaws in Boulder

I had expected the film to be grainy, the sound to be garbled and the crowd to talk through the whole movie. It was like watching at home, if I had a giant movie screen and a pool. There was something about seeing the screen reflected in the water that added an extra chill.

I found Movies in the Park’s Facebook page and suggested they make this an annual event. I don’t think it would be the same if they played, “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Will I take a bath this week? I think I’ll play it safe and stick to showers. Da dum. Da dum. Da dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum…

This is a response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge half and half.

Have you seen Jaws? How long has it been? Could you swim with sharks?

86 thoughts on “Is it safe to go back in the water?

Add yours

  1. Oh what a fun idea, I would definitely be up for that! I’d rather stand it the water to watch that than to watch the more recent Piranha film which disturbed me big time! Love Jaws, it’s such a classic. I was born in 1970 so I was a little too young to see it in the theatres when it first came out, but I’m pretty sure I’d seen it by the time was 9 or 10, I guess on TV or video. And I’ve seen it a few times since.

    Like others have commented, I’m not keen on swimming in the sea too deep or rather where I can’t see the bottom, that’s the issue rather than depth isn’t it, but I think I’d have been like that even if I hadn’t seen jaws.


    1. In the movie, they said most attacks happened in 3 feet of water. I wonder if that is still true. I remember an old movie Pirhana. I don’t think they would show Anaconda, since it was probably filled with bad language, but that movie doesn’t come close to Jaws either.
      I know what you mean. I get creeped out too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The 2010 piranha film really did disturb me for some reason, I saw it on TV last year and I actually had to stop watching it half way through because I felt so traumatised by it! (What a wuss!). Not sure exactly why, it’s probably no more graphic than any other teen horror type film, but I guess something about it got to me for whatever reason, and left me for several hours with a horrible feeling inside as if something awful had happened in real. So yeah, I’d give that one a miss if it was showing at the pool, but Jaws, I’d be there!


        1. I guess it was effective, at least. I don’t like movies that are too graphic or torturous, so I don’t know if I could handle it either. Good for you turning it off!


  2. I remember seeing Jaws in the theatre too! That brought back such memories, mostly of me being scared to death at the thought of water. We went to the shore shortly after seeing this movie and they were selling Shark Protector bracelets on the boardwalk, so I just got myself one of those babies and enjoyed my time at the beach. The bracelet was just braided white rope and EVERYONE had one. I’ll assume the genius who came up with that is safe and secure on their private beach right about now.


  3. Here in South Africa we made international headlines when a Great White accidentally attacked the Aussie Surfer Mick Fanning in a surfing competition in Jeffreys Bay. They say that the shark is still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress… we joke a bit about it being Australia’s enemy in a lot of sports, but seriously we are glad that Mick is OK and back home safely… We do have some of the world’s best shark viewing in the world, and they do get a much worse reputation than deserved. But then.., there are also times and places that are better to avold the water…


    1. I guess we take risks with any adventure into a wild animal’s territory. Considering how many there are, the attacks seem minimal. I guess the East Coast has had quite a few this summer, so swimmer beware!

      I removed your link since it was in another language and seemed unrelated unless I didn’t drink enough coffee yet this morning. The cool thing about WordPress is people can click on your name to go to your blog. 🙂

      Do you swim in the ocean?


      1. Something went wrong with the link then, it was a local newspaper telling of the shark attack in English. Sorry about that. But yes, I do still swim in the ocean when I get the chance.


        1. By all means try again to include the link! It sounds so interesting.
          I think having a vivid imagination would make it harder to go back in the water after an attack.


            1. OH MY GOD!!!!! That is so intense. The wave blocked the view of the cameras so I’m sure for a few moments, they thought their hero was shark bait. Thanks for sharing, Rider!


  4. I grew up in So Fla and we all had a healthy respect for things that swam with us in the ocean. We were more afraid of the jellyfish than sharks. JAWS did make us gun shy of fins but they would turn out to be dolphins. JAWS is one of those movies for me that when channel surfing ya just can’t help watching it for the 101th time.


    1. Same!
      I never really knew enough about jellyfish to be afraid, but after a story about the nastiest ones in Australia, it would make me think twice. Them I’d probably go in anyway. Ha!
      Thanks for stopping by!


  5. How fun! I haven’t seen it in MANY years because I am a big, big baby about scary/gory stuff. Can’t watch it at all without projecting whatever horror was on the screen into my daily life.


    1. So a leg floating down to the bottom of the sea might have been too much for you. 🙂 I’m the same way, but being a 40 year old film, it wasn’t anything like today’s standard of gore. I couldn’t believe the tension and the humor. That juxtaposition made the film one of the best. Go see it! Cover your eyes when you hear, Da dum. Da dum. Da dum…


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