Day 27: 7/22/2013: Sharkitecture

Today, I welcomed a new class of International students at Sci-Arc, an architecture school where I teach ESL in the summer. As an icebreaker, I had them ask each other a series of questions including a gem I stole from my own writing teacher:

“If faced with your potential end, would you rather confront a bear or a shark?”

These answers reveal how deeply weird our relationship to other creatures can be. Students who chose death by bear over shark gave these reasons:

1. “The bear is cuter.”

2. “The bear is more like a person.”

3. “Getting killed by a shark is all salty and it hurts.”

A few people had enough confidence in themselves as swimmers to believe:

1. “I might be able to swim faster than a shark.”

Others reasoned that death by shark would be quicker and more merciful than being scalped by a bear:

2. “The shark will just bite my head off and it will be over.”

To make sure the conversation didn’t get too sensational, I informed that students that human beings kill about 100 million sharks a year and sharks kill, oh I don’t know…a half dozen people or something.

I wish I had studied anthrozoology and could compile data like this for a living.

After class, I did get five friends to sign my slowly evolving Shark Defenders petition.

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