Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Largest Shark Ever Caught


As a lad, some of my interests weren't that different from what they are now. Sports, ninjas, candy. And wildlife.

In the library at Adelaide Elementary School, there was a few books that I was obsessed with. I knew exactly where they were in the stacks. There was huge book with color drawings of dinosaurs that I checked out quite often. One on monkeys that I would hide so I knew where it was. And a tome about sharks.

There was one picture that especially fascinated me. That of the "Largest Shark Ever Caught." (Pictured above.) I came across the photo, the exact one that amazed me as a kid, the other day by accident and a flood of memories returned. I haven't seen the photo in years. In the 40's, that shark was caught off the coast of Cuba. The giant measured 21 feet long and weighed over 7,000 pounds. I would stare at the photo, imagining the adventure the men must have had to catch the beast.

Now, the confession that has been long overdue. After a few years of fascination with the picture in the shark book, I stole it. It's true. It was the perfect crime. The library was bustling with youngsters, plenty of ambient noise. Then I snuck to a distant corner, away from the cranky librarians. The book was propped open to the appropriate page. Then, the genius part of my plan; a fake sneeze as I tore the page out. It was brilliant. The shark picture was slyly slipped into a Pee Chee folder and that was that. The shark book went back onto the shelf and nobody got wise to the theft. It was a diabolical caper. I was a criminal mastermind. Similar to the guy that boosted the Mona Lisa from The Louvre in 1911.

The picture was later trimmed and proudly posted on the bulletin board in my bedroom. So, if you are a retired librarian and have wondered all these years what happened to that shark book, you can rest easy. I did it. I'm sorry. But the statute of limitations on the crime has expired.

What memories a random picture stumbled upon on the internet can inspire...

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