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One morning, when I was nine years old, my mother told me about a movie that would be shown on TV that night. She said the film was about a giant killer shark. Immediately my interest was peaked, and I thought ''That sounds amazing!''
The film was Jaws, and before that night, I had never seen it. Jaws wasn't going to air till quite late, but I was allowed to stay up for the occasion. When it started, I was immediately taken in by the opening attack! Jaws was like nothing I had ever seen before. Scenes with some blood and gore were new to me—as was the tension and scary atmosphere of other portions. In this respect, Jaws was my initial exposure to horror/thriller type movies (which would go on to become a favorite genre of mine). During that first viewing, I was indeed terrified during many parts, and the movie gave me nightmares on several occasions. However, that primal reaction just served to fuel an intense fascination and passion for both Jaws and sharks in general.
Other aspects of the film drew me in. For instance, the characters all seemed like real people. I spent my summers at campgrounds with my grandparents, often at the beach. The individuals in Jaws seemed like people I could realistically see during my own summer outings—this made the whole movie and the situations seem more real to me. The score and cinematography were also beautifully done.
Soon after seeing Jaws for the first time, I got the VHS and rewatched it many times. At school, many of the pictures and stories I drew focused on Jaws and shark attacks. I even remember playing the Jaws Nintendo game, and being excited when the shark would show up.
During the end of one of my school years, we got to vote on a movie to watch for our last day celebration. I enthusiastically rallied for my classmates to vote for Jaws and Jaws 2—and won!
I also enjoyed showcasing and playing the movies for friends (and when my little brother was old enough, showed him Jaws for the first time). I loved re-visiting Jaws with first-time viewers, and seeing their reactions and responses. After watching, I would engage them in discussions on the film and our favorite scenes and aspects.
''Sometimes as a kid, I would play 'Jaws,' pretending to search for sharks. Other times I would pretend I had to avoid being attacked by them...''
In the summer of 2000, a Jaws—Anniversary Collector's Edition (Double VHS Set) was released. I made sure I got one, and I watched it many times over that summer. This was partially due to being at a new campground with my family. During the evenings or late afternoons (right after swimming ironically), I would show the movie to the new friends I had made at the camp.
Shortly after though, my mother went through a divorce and we ended up moving. During this period, I moved around a lot, and lost touch with my friends (and lost a sense of stability). It was a time of loneliness and upheaval. However, Jaws provided a sense of relief from this, as I still garnered great enjoyment from watching it or having Jaws marathons.
In the summer of 2015, I finally got the chance to see Jaws on the big screen, as it was being shown at the Cineplex Theater (about an hour from my home). When I arrived, it was amazing to see that the place was packed! The audience was of mixed ages—some were in their 20s like me, some were in their late teens, and some of the older people brought their kids. It was impactful to see the reactions of those around me watching it as it all unfolded on the big screen (I get goosebumps thinking about it)!
More recently, I have started a Jaws collection with various bits of Jaws memorabilia. It is rewarding to have these tangible and physical representations of something that I have loved since childhood. It also serves as another way for me to indulge in my passion of Jaws! When I first watched Jaws, I was captivated by it, but as time has gone on, it has only become more meaningful to me. Many fond memories with family members, friends, and more, includes Jaws. It has become something nostalgic and beautiful in my life. The fact that these early memories still stand out in my mind so vividly is a testament to how much happiness Jaws has brought to me (and how significant it has been). I am certain that my love and passion for it will never cease!
Additionally, my love for Jaws embodies both current activities and nostalgia from being a young child. This mixture of sentimentality with present fondness is what keeps this great passion in me, and I am grateful for it. Author and lecturer, Gretchen Rubin, who worked on The Happiness Project, professed, ''I spend a lot of time wondering, what elements are necessary for a happy life? I’ve become convinced that one of the greatest supports to a person’s happiness is passion—whether for musical theater, video games, camping, stamps, shoe-shopping, teaching English as a second language, or whatever. Any passion is a great boon to happiness. It gives you something in common with other people, and so fosters social bonds. It gives you purpose.''