Why I relate to Sharknado

By all accounts, I should not have liked Sharknado 2. I ignored the first Sharknado, for the simple reason that I’m more of a Masterpiece Theatre

All in a day's work for our hero.

All in a day’s work for our hero.

kind of guy, and a film about giant sharks getting sucked out of the ocean by a tornado (thus, a sharknado) and wreaking havoc on entire cities was not exactly something  I’d pick for my viewing pleasure.

But the first film was an instant phenomenon, and when the sequel debuted this week, my interest was piqued. To my surprise, I was (pardon the fish pun) hooked from the first scene. It shows our hero, Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) sitting on plane with his girlfriend April (Tara Reid.) Now, not having seen the first Sharknado, I had no idea that Fin had already been eaten by a shark and somehow lived to tell about it. But as soon as I saw those dastardly Jaws knock-offs hovering near the wings of the plane, I figured out the backstory pretty quickly. Soon, the sharks are eating their way into the plane, and the film is so obviously cheesy and over the top that I actually enjoyed watching them devour the passengers.

Of course, our hero Fin has to save the day by somehow landing the plane in New York. And of course, this sets the stage for some massive sharknados moving in to the Big Apple, causing the giant man-eaters to rain down on the denizens of Manhattan. When that happened, this crazy, stupid film gave me an epiphany: Those sharks falling from the sky were just like my depression and anxiety. They are illogical, and they can easily devour me. Just like the shark that ate Fin but couldn’t kill him, the storms in my head have tried to devour me through thoughts of suicide. But like Fin, I have survived them. And Fin, in his dogged attempts to slay the sharks with anything (a chord, a chainsaw) he can get his hands on–he represents the herculean efforts I take every day to manage my depression and anxiety.

Now, I’m not as hunky or as ruggedly good-looking as Ian Ziering, but that’s beside the point. I identified with Fin. No matter how many sharks swirl around him, he keeps fighting. He keeps on slaying the sharks, no matter how much the odds are stacked against him.

From the minute I wake up in the morning, I know that depression and anxiety swirl around me. Most mornings, it’s a struggle for me to get up. My own “sharks” want to pull me under the sheets and keep me there (one of my doctors refers to this as “sheet therapy.”) But, like Fin, I’m determined not to let them destroy me. I use the tools at my disposal–be they medical, holistic, or mindful–and I do the best I can.

I hear there’s going to be a third Sharknado, and I’m already anticipating it. After all, I could use all the inspiration I can get when it comes to keeping my own personal sharks at bay. I can’t wait to see how Fin tames those slimy bastards next.


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