Jaws, Hydrophobia, and the REAL Story of Our Nation's Independence

Duh-dun, duh-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun AGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Duh-dun, duh-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun AGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Ah, summer and Fourth of July. I have the best family in the world, but all of them had kids before I did. This means The Spawn has a lot of cousins who are all older. This is great in that they get to enjoy him (and lots of babysitters at family get-togethers), but it probably means they will scar him for life just like my older cousins did to me.

Fourth of July was a time when all my family came together and my older cousins had an opportunity to psychologically scar me for life babysat me. When I was 5, my cousins let me watch Jaws and instilled powerful hydrophobia that endures to this day.

They also let me watch Friday the 13th at age 10, ruining freshwater for me as well. Basically, if it ain’t chlorinated? I’m not getting in it. Expert angler Jeremy Wade from River Monsters has only reinforced that people who swim in anything other than the hotel pool are just asking to be part of the food chain.

My point, EXACTLY.

My point, EXACTLY (image via Tus-Memes).

I suppose my cousins did me a favor in that, when we went to the beach? My parents never had to worry I’d drown in anything deeper than an extra large coconut snow cone. I was perfectly content to sit in the surf and build sand castles. When at the lake? Yeah. I’ll stand on the dock with the shotgun and shoot Water Moccassins collecting near the dock and YOU MORONS GUYS can go waterski.


I recall one trip to Florida and my family forced invited me to go clamming in the Indian River, which consists of brackish water. I pleaded with them to believe me that there could be sharks and they laughed me off. It’s a river. Sharks aren’t in rivers.

HA! Twenty-five years later my theory was proven correct on Shark Week. BULL SHARKS LOVE brackish water and are invading deeper into fresh water. Australia has quite a problem with bull sharks in their canals. I’m shocked I’m even here to tell this story. Good thing I was a skinny kid and didn’t resemble a tasty manatee.

Probably just gave a few of you hydrophobia. You can thank me later for saving your LIFE.

Over the years, I’ve pretty much turned into a human feline. Unless bathing? I don’t like getting wet.


The Spawn shares my aversion to water…bathtub not included.

So have fun on your jet-skis and with your snorkels. I will miss you when if you get eaten.

When even ur Kiddy Pool is not safe...

When even ur Kiddy Pool is not safe…

I’ll be hanging out on dry land, grilling meat like a good Texan should. We’ll hang out by my brother’s pool and let the new generation of older cousins warp The Spawn even further than I have (though not sure that’s possible). We will set off silly little fireworks in the driveway. Well…my brother and husband will. I prefer to be a spectator. I need all my fingers (especially the middle one for dealing with AT&T).

Knowing my family, we’ll talk about history, our nation’s founding. Since I know many of you are from other countries, I’ve taken the “liberty” (bada-bump-snare) of finding you a quick reference that’s as accurate as possible. Forget what the history books tell you, THIS is how The American Revolution REALLY went down:


So did you have older cousins who warped you for life? Did Jaws give you hydrophobia? Did you have another movie that gave you another phobia? We won’t even talk about Poltergeist and how I view clowns. What do you like to do on the holidays? How do you celebrate Independence Day?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. 

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Over my cold but still tired. Will try to announce winners tomorrow, but will have them by Monday latest. 

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of July I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!


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  1. If that’s not the historically accurate version of the American revolution, I don’t want to know what is.

    As the oldest cousin on my dad’s side, I got to be one of the warpers rather than the warpees. I think my little cousins had it pretty good, aside from my brother’s jokes about their massive cramiums… and that one time I said I’d play hide and seek with them, and then didn’t bother looking for them once I knew they were hidden somewhere relatively safe.

    I miss my family!

  2. Happy 4th of July, Kristen!

    I too have hydrophobia but it encompasses chlorinated water as well. I don’t even get my face wet in the shower and let me tell you, whoever invented waterless face washcloths? Brilliant! I’d give him my first born, but she’s 26 now.

    I almost drowned as a child thanks to the Girl Scouts and their impossible Swimming Badge! I did go in the water in Florida. Once. Until I saw those fins offshore. I’m not much of a runner, but my friends never saw my feet hit the surface of the water as I vacated the ocean.So I’d be sitting right there with you, your assistant sand carrier in the grand scheme of your castles village.

    • Lanette Kauten on July 4, 2013 at 8:15 am
    • Reply

    I’m your opposite. I’m a beach girl through and through. I love the smell of the salt water, the way gentle waves lap over my feet and pull back the sand under my feet. I love the feel of the water and when larger waves take me for a ride as it hits me with its full force. I love sitting on the beach and watching seagulls attack anything in sight. I think it’s embedded in my DNA because my mother always talked about living near the ocean and had decorated our house with beach scenes and lighthouses, and we took multiple vacations to Hawaii and California while I was growing up.

  3. Yes! Jaws (to which I was dragged by my parents (where was CSS back then) not only gave me hydrophobia (well, to be fair, the bully who tried to drown me in a lake when I was ten contributed) but killed my desire to become a marine biologist. I still love the water, though– from a distance. And I will only swim in bodies of water that are clear all the way to the bottom. Hello, chlorine.

  4. Good to know I’m not the only one who thinks sharks are in pools. 🙂 I would not go swimming in our above ground pool by myself when I was a kid. I was certain a shark was lurking, waiting for me to be alone.

    I live in a British colony so we don’t celebrate the 4th of July, but Happy 4th of July to you!

  5. I’m Canadian so we celebrate Canada Day July 1st, but thankfully my cousins are similar in ages to myself so we scared the pants off each other…lol I am scared of spiders I forget the name of the movie with the giant tarantulas but holy crap! Glad you are feeling better.

    • Joanna Aislinn on July 4, 2013 at 8:41 am
    • Reply

    Happy Fourth to you, Kristen, yours and the WANA crowd and all stopping by 🙂

    I’m no waterphobe, but have no real desire to freeze my backside off whether or not the water is chlorinated. You’ll only catch me in a pool after about two weeks of 90+ temps. Forget the Atlantic. Hasn’t seen me since my late 20s.) I actually liked the sea in Cancun, but was allergic to something so I couldn’t enjoy it–all three trips I took. Spent many hours in the Tyrrhenian Sea while in Italy, but haven’t been there since ’94.

    As per Jaws, I was twelve when that iconic (?) movie debuted. Will NEVER forget that one-eyed head popping out the side of the boat. (I took off to the lobby and waited until the movie was over. My brother–and now his kids–still laugh at me about that display.) Couldn’t get that flippin’ image out of my head that night. I was so scared, Woke up my mom and she came and slept with me. (Sad, but true.) Have yet to see that movie in full.

    Enjoy! Fun post.

  6. Like Lanette, I am the original water baby and only feel content on the water, in it or beside it. We have heaps of white pointer sharks round our coastline, but I swim, kayak and go boating as often as I can and my blog is often dedicated to that side of this writer’s life. Seriously Kristen, I have more chance of being hit by a bus than eaten by a shark.
    But I’m not at all brave really – I do have a phobia of snakes, bushfires (we are farmers!!!) and of small spaces, and on a recent blogged-about flight on a small aircraft suffered severe anxiety verging on panic. Left deep bruises on my husband’s arm I held so tight. So none of us are as immune as we think, are we? Cheers!

  7. I LOVE the beach! I happily frolic in the water, jumping waves and dodging foam. What do I watch out for? Jellyfish. Not sharks. You’re far more likely to be stung by a jellyfish than bit by a shark.

    I did, however, watch JAWS as a kid and then went to the beach with some friends. I was elementary age, and we went into the water. Something caught my leg, and I ran out screaming like a horror movie chick. Everyone around kept telling me it must have been a crab. It just didn’t feel like that. Years later, I looked it up, and it could have been a very small shark. If so, its mouth wouldn’t have been wide enough to do any real damage, and it was probably just telling me to move out of its territory. Still…Freaked. Me. Out.

    But that doesn’t stop me from swimming in the ocean. And I’ll be at church camp soon, where I’ll go off a rope swing into the Medina River. Splash! Enjoy your summer in the pool. 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on Laurie Boris, Freelance Writer and commented:
    I’m reblogging Kristen Lamb’s blog today because it’s funny and it’s why I won’t swim in the ocean. (Thanks, Steven Spielberg!) Happy Fourth!

    • radgalbraith on July 4, 2013 at 9:19 am
    • Reply

    Yes, my older cousin, Virginia, tried to convince me I was named for the state on Indiana, and that smoking was the coolest thing you could do. Uh, nope.

  9. I’m the daughter of a long-distance swimmer and grew-up beside the ocean and still have a fear of swimming in water that isn’t chlorinated. “Jaws” was the last straw for me. I think of it as an aversion to descending further on the food chain. Clowns? Clowns are evil and I didn’t need Stephen King to tell me that. I was at the circus when I was little and I’d have rather spent time with the lions then watching those demonic clowns run about, their eyes on me while they waited for me to become separated from the adults…

  10. Oh, gosh. This is funny. I’m sharing it, too.

  11. I have to confess that I’m part of the brigade of older cousins who warped the little ones. I have an uncle who’s an avid hunter and his walls have quite a few animal heads on them. One time my cousin asked where the rest of the deer was and we told him it was outside and sent him out there to look for it!
    As for today, I am walking in our parade with my living history group. I prefer to think of it as running the Yankees out of town. Then I will stop by to see my mom. I’m planning to finish the day with a Civil War movie, but I can’t decide between Gods and Generals or Gettysburg.
    Have a great day!

    • mhoutsblog on July 4, 2013 at 9:55 am
    • Reply

    Am I the only one who can’t stop thinking about “Old Yeller” just now? You know, “He’s got the hydrophobie. Ain’t nothing we can do for him now.” Sniff. Bang! Turns out calling rabies “hydrophobie” comes from the fact that in the later stages of human rabies, the victim can’t swallow, so even a glass of water induces panic. Who knew? So take your pick, Kristen. Sharks in the water, rabid dogs on land. It’s a scary world.

  12. After Jaws my baby sister refused to get into the tub. She thought the shark would come out of the drain hole to munch on her. Thankfully, hygeine won. And to this day, I’m afraid of horror flicks. Why? Blame my parents for crippling us. I still wonder why they thought horror should be a healthy part of our daily diet of entertainment.

  13. I think for me it was Stephen King’s IT. I can’t take a shower with put eying the drain suspiciously.

    • Kristen G. Johnson on July 4, 2013 at 10:09 am
    • Reply

    Talking Tina (Twilight Zone) gave me a pretty healthy fear of dolls!
    Have a great 4th. Thanks

  14. Happy July 4th! 🙂

  15. As a long time pool shark I feel like I’ve been snookered by this post. This feeling is exacerbated by the inclusion of a round table, making it impossible to find the corner pockets. Hell, by the looks of it I can’t even slide into a side pocket!

    Round pool . . . hmmph . . . looks like I’ll have to settle for everlasting bank shots!

  16. Hello Beautiful Kristen

    Your article is awesome as always–love it.

    I love your idea of crossing out the words you previously were to use–that is unique!

    Your photos are fabulous woman, which brings me to ask you where do you get them from, or where can I find fabulous images to insert into my writings?

    Thanks for sharing your expertise with the world Kristen–you’re great!

    1. I use http://www.picmonkey.com to do a lot of the pics. It’s free and super easy.

  17. OMG Jaws actually came AFTER I had been scarred for life! I grew up in Florida and was a Brownie Girl Scout when one of my cousins friends was attacked by a sand shark in about three feet of water. Thankfully, he survived although he had a lot of stitches and scars and lots of graphic pictures in the newspaper. The rest of us, however, looked at the ocean suspiciously ever since. Of course, we’re insane Floridians and the thought of future attacks never kept us from going in…The day I had to swim a quarter mile out to earn my senior life saving badge, the theme music for Jaws played in my head and I was sure I’d never return to shore. My poor cousin went into the Navy-search and rescue. He said while he sat treading water off of the Florida Keys during practice sessions waiting for the spotters to find him, he also heard the Jaws theme… That movie has scarred us all!

  18. I am an avid scuba diver, because I want to see what is going to eat me before it does.

  19. Jaws did leave me a bit like that but not as bad as another unknown movie about a plane that crashed in the sea and the kids sat in the window with a shark passing right by. That freaked me right out for years lol. Happy 4th and book birthday today, Kristen.

  20. I was 14 when Jaws was released and it scared me so badly I called my father to come pick me up halfway through! I still fear swimming in the ocean (although I had to swim 2.4 miles in the Pacific Ocean for Ironman). I’m with you, BBQ and sit by the pool (after I get off work). Enjoy, Kristen!

    • Katherine CS on July 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    • Reply

    I do love all your posts Kristen and have to mention you do have a great sense of humor! I laughed out loud a few times today reading this :-))

  21. I share your aversion to all things wet. (Although I even dislike even showers and baths, I recognize their necessity and wash regularly. Being dirty is worse than getting wet.)

  22. Thanks for the giggles that was a great post! My kids loved the river monster fish.
    I’m not usually scared by movies, my mind “sees behind the curtain” too much. However, the movie The Fourth Kind left me feeling anxious for at least a month afterwards. It’s one of those you definitely keep thinking about. I keep that in mind when writing…

  23. Hahaha! Super fun post. Love those photos, especially the one of The Spawn and the shark popping up in the kiddie pool. I saw Jaws at the movies when I was an adult and I was afraid of going in the ocean for years. Funny video with super hero George Washington wearing the flag for a cape. Happy 4th, Kristen!

  24. I got to enjoy the interesting phenomenon of my cousins and I all being very close in age. My eldest cousin was only a little over 3 when her little brother was born, then another male cousin was born four months later, and I was two months after that. The two younger ones were only two and three years down the road from that. So yeah, I didn’t really suffer insanity at the behest of older cousins…but we all went down that road together. lol

  25. Don’t forget the evil tree in Poltergeist, I will never have a tree near my window!

  26. You’re right about fresh water sharks. I can’t remember what kind they were but Louisiana had some sharks moving up their waterways for a while. Last I heard there are still sharks making their way further into fresh waters.

    • Jennifer Cole on July 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen,

    I sent you an email to your wana email address like ages ago but I wasn’t sure if you received it. I’ve quoted you on my blog and wanted to be sure that was okay and should I be more formal about acknowledging you as the one who said the words. My blog is here for you to view just to be sure I did the right thing. If I haven’t please let me know and I’ll be sure to rectify the situation immediately.

    As I’ve said in the past, I’ve gained tons on insight from you and would hope to continue to do that.

    Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2013 13:03:56 +0000 To: jlynncole@hotmail.com

    1. You are welcome to use anything you need, Hon. It’s the WANA Way :D. Don’t know why I didn’t get it. Might have been when I switched hosts.

      1. Thank you much! I hope I get to meet you personally one day to thank you for your invaluable insight. Thank you again.

  27. Excellent comments, Happy independence day even from Canada.

  28. I am not afraid of sharks in our waters, but I never learned to swim and as a child I drowned many times in the Pacific Ocean and a lake at the top of an active volcano with my father reviving me back to life when I was six and under. One time, on beach sand, my father had to give me a trachea surgery with an available sharp knife and with a drinking straw to breathe until they could bring me to an ER. They are putting baby sharks and carnivorous eating fishes in rivers and man-made lakes. It is part of domestic terrorism in America. Park rangers have to deal with it. They do it here for our coastlines to lessen our food supply and it is why our fishermen catch baby sharks and what not and sold to be eaten. I have eaten piranha and baby shark and stingray. It is so the coastal areas continue to have seafood to catch for local markets. Fish farms are getting popular for a source of income.

  29. I grew up in NW Florida–LOVED the beach. until “Jaws.” After “Jaws” I felt something nibble my feet in a fresh water LAKE. I no longer swim in lakes. Rivers had been deleted from the possible water sources years before when I saw water mocosins. That left pools. Until, while enjoying a late night swim alone in a hotel pool, I saw movement at the bottom of the pool. It was YEARS before I could get into a pool even though I realized I had seen the ripple effect of water on the pool drain.

    1. Minnows. 🙂

      And I’ll stand in any of our Great Lakes up to my ankle bones, but that’s my limit.

    • Jennifer Rose on July 5, 2013 at 10:35 am
    • Reply

    I know it’s not the purpose of this post, but I LOVED this line: ” I need all my fingers (especially the middle one for dealing with AT&T).” Long story short, they outright refused to give me my number back without ridiculous cancellation charges, so I HATE and LOATHE AT&T. I <3 T-Mobile.

    Anyways, I celebrated my July 4th (ie. Day off from current-paid work) to edit my manuscript. Yay! And purchasing a new book from this neat person I met for the unique price of $7.04, thus learning I could read Kindle on my iPad (thanks for the FB comment so I could figure that out…) 😉

    • PJ Ryley on July 5, 2013 at 10:41 am
    • Reply

    I never watched Jaws for many reasons. I’ll go swimming and scuba diving in the ocean off Maui where the water is nice and clear and I can see a loooong way. Otherwise it’s the pool for me or sitting on a lounge chair watching the waves.

    I just bought your new book and can’t wait to read it!

  30. This is exactly why water is best used as a companion to scotch.

    • Peter on July 8, 2013 at 1:31 am
    • Reply

    Sharks shouldn’t be a cause for fear from water.

    – Each year just about 18 people are killed *on the whole world* by sharks.
    – On the contrary, each year about 100 million sharks are killed by humans.


    … sharks are on top of the food chain in the oceans. Removing them destabilizes the whole food chain.

    Whilst I wouldn’t like to have a shark as a pet, I kind of hate these shark-fear movies because they induce some unfounded fears in people and make it easier to have them slaughtered for profit reasons.

    1. I agree. I actually love sharks. Watch shark week, support shark groups. Just don’t like being in water. And actually more of that stems from a terrible boating accident I was in that nearly killed me, but it didn’t make near as funny of a blog.

        • Peter on July 9, 2013 at 12:01 am
        • Reply

        I can vividly imagine that this boating accident is nothing funny to remember. One has to bear in mind, that drowning is indeed one of the major death causes for children:

        “Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.”


        In that context it is probably not so bad to keep some fear from water or at least respect. Even more so if children are close. Many of these children did drown with their parents or the supervising person only a couple of meters away. Because drowning is not as violent and accompanied by screams as it is depicted in many movies. Drowning is silent.

        I think I did sound like a school teacher again, I hope you pardon me for that.

  31. I watched Jaws and the Deep just before going on a scuba diving vacation in the Florida Keys. Also, I watched the movie, Rollercoaster just before going to Six Flags. I think I’m a bit of a masochist. I did survive though.

  32. Today’s deluxe motor coaches make this an effortless trip. One area of planning comes settling for a reservation for your entourage. You can travel through the national park having huge areas that consist of lush plants and floodplains and thick forests and grass.

  33. Screwthatistan, I love that!

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