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The Shark

April 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 160

I bought my nephew one of those "Air Sharks" for his birthday. You know - the ones they show scaring the BeJoingus out of the dog on T.V. I got it on sale for half price. I thought: "Hey, he likes sharks - I like sharks - half price - say, this could be a lot of fun!"

Yup - I said it - fun.

The box says these things inflate to five feet in length. almost slipped my mind - inflate. As in helium. Do you know how hard it is to find helium to inflate your own balloon? Your own five foot long balloon? After spending a half day driving around to various shops, I found someone who would inflate this thing for about twice what I'd already paid for it. Now I had a five foot silver behemoth that I needed to put into the back seat of my car, all the while it desperately tried to escape my clutches (there are really no good places to hold onto finless shark balloons). I'm sure the guy whose rent I just paid with my helium purchase had lots to do rather than lend me a hand - like a really challenging game of Sudoku, or something.

So now I have a five foot shark-like balloon in the back of my car, and a box full of parts. Yeah, that's right: not only did I need to somehow find enough helium to inflate this monster, but I now needed to assemble it by adding all the fins and the parts that actually made it fly...or swim...or whatever.

Now here I was, a man sorely in need of an aeronautical engineering degree trying to figure out just how this thing goes together. I mean - they didn't even include the directions! (Two hours later, when I was about half way finished my wife pipes up, "Hey, I have the directions here, why don't you use these?")

The first order of business was attaching the fins - three in all - using some really odd shaped clear tape. (As an aside, you may be wondering why sharks have three fins. Well, it's common knowledge that most things in nature come in threes: you have your triceratops, your leaves on poison ivy, have your three-legged dog, and finally, the typical number of strokes to get a golf ball out of a sand trap.) After spending the twenty minutes required to actually separate it from its backing, the tape proceeded to immediately stick to itself, rather than the fin and shark, which I'm now straddling to keep it from rocketing to the ceiling. After three attempts (see, there's that magic three, again), I punt and after about forty-five minutes locate one of our two dozen rolls of duct tape we have stashed around the house. Voila! The fins were finally attached to the shark - never mind that they were affixed at some very strange angles never truly seen in nature. They were attached - attached.

So, then, what the heck are all these other pieces left over? OK...time to swallow my pride (or is still some tuna sandwich stuck between my teeth), and go ask my wife for the directions.

Ok, I get it: something for propulsion. First some thingy to make the tail move back and forth...I guess because a shark's tail does know...back and forth...for propulsion. Ah...the fog is lifting now!

Next, there's this gizmo that moves fore and aft (nautical terms, for you land lubbers) that has to be taped to the bottom of the shark with the special tape. So, soon I'm wondering where the #@&$! I put that stupid duct tape, anyway.

Finally, with everything taped on securely, I take the fully constructed shark to the room with the high ceiling, release it, and watch it promptly shoot straight up. I use the remote control device to swish the tail and make the gizmo go forward and backward. The shark remains stuck to the ceiling tighter than any of those fins I taped to it.

Hence, I look for those (what are they called again...oh yeah) directions, and look at the last item. Ah, before releasing the shark I was supposed to place some marbles, or putty or broken teeth or something in the designated compartment for ballast. Ballast! I run down our street naked crying out "Eureka!" The neighbors didn't appreciate it...heck, they probably never even heard of Archimedes.

So, after making bail, with two stacked chairs and a couple brooms duct taped together (I duct taped the roll of duct tape to my torso, so I wouldn't lose the duct tape again), I was able to slowly maneuver the shark down until I could grab it. And the good news is, they say the knot on my head is actually not a bad sign - less of a chance of bleeding in the brain.

After adding just the right amount of marbles, and a broken tooth, the beast is travelling through the air in our home, just like on the commercial, although the dog takes one look at it and yawns. By the way, one word of warning: keep your Air Shark away from spinning ceiling fans, as they have a tendency to suck them in like a super-massive black hole.

So after about a half hour of the kids watching us adults showing them how it should be done, one of the men (I think it was Lenny, after his eighth beer) suggests we take it outside for twice the fun. Sounded good to me, since the winds were calm (I still had my head about me, being only on my sixth beer).

One of the women (who hadn't even had one beer) said something about the range of the remote control, trying very hard to sound technical, probably because of her electrical engineering degree. I said, "Sure toots, you just go on back to baking cookies. We men have it under control."

I think somewhere over Delaware right now, an airline pilot is reporting a flying shark at twenty-three thousand feet.

Source: EzineArticles
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