The dad of my neighborhood friend
had a stuffed hammerhead shark
mounted on the wall of his office.
The shark scared me shitless.
I thought it could swim off the wall,
race across the sea-shag carpet,
and attack me.
I ran down the hall
as fast as I could,
my back pressed against the walls,
sprinting past the office
and into the safety of my friend's room.
The entire time we played,
I plotted my strategy,
to back out of the house,
without getting eaten.
I don't remember the friend.
I don't remember the dad.
I don't remember anything else about the house.
But I remember the shark.
And 38 years later, I'm still scared to swim in the ocean by myself.
About the Author
Brian Kissel is an Associate Professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His focus is writing instruction. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Hattie and three kiddos: Charlie, Ben, and Harriet.