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I’ve Seen The Shark And The Aliens

August 15, 2018

anx i e ty


a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or somethign with an uncertain outcome

Did you know that when Steven Spielberg was making the movie Jaws, he had a problem with the shark? The mechanical shark was affectionately named Bruce. When filming started he realized that that Bruce looked a little too much like a mechanical shark.

Spielberg was early in his career. He had to figure out a way to make his movie but not have the audience laugh as soon as they saw the shark. His solution was to simply not let the audience see the shark.

He modified the script so that the shark was not seen clearly. There were glimpses and shadows. It was an invention born of necessity, but he ended up creating a much scarier movie as a result. In fact, even today, sharks get a bad rap because Spielberg had a fake looking mechanical shark.

Suspense is like that. We fear what we can’t see. Anxiety is like that too. Anxiety is that dread, not unlike suspense, as you wait for the “event” or the “accident” or just some unnamed, unnameable dreadful happening.

M. Night Shyamalan made a movie called Signs. In it the aliens come to earth. The movie is very scary. . .until you actually see the aliens. Shyamalan kept the aliens hidden for the first half of the movie. They were unknowable, and therefore they were whatever your worst nightmares could conjure up. And then, he CGI’d them onto the screen. And the suspence was over. They were just these odd looking grey guys who “bounced” while standing still for some strange reason. The rest of the movie was somewhat tedious.

If you suffer from anxiety but don’t know you do, then you live in a constant state of dread. Not always severe. But, constant. Once you name it. In some ways it’s a relief. But, you also move yourself to the second half of the movie Signs. The aliens are still there. They haen’t gone away. You’ve just named them and shown them.

In some ways it’s worse. You still have that feeling of dread. You just understand why now. Signs and Jaws were much better movies before you saw the aliens and the shark.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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