Jack and Sharky
The unstoppable pairing of a boy and his great white shark.
There he lays in his bed surrounded by an army of plush warriors to protect him from bad dreams and the things that go bump in the night. They range from all sorts of backgrounds, Pokémon, animals from zoo’s even the space shuttle from our trip to the air museum a few years ago. But Jack’s most stalwart defender, his greatest comfort and closest companion among all his cotton filled protectors is Sharky.
Jack has always loved sharks and has several shark themed birthdays over the years. This has led to shark cakes, shark place mats and other shark related party decorations that my wife and I have had to construct because shark party items are not as popular as you might think. He has also had several toy and plush sharks to play with but none of them apparently have had quite the staying power of Sharky who for several years now has been Jack's constant companion. I don’t even remember where Sharky came from, if he was a present or something Jack saved up and bought with his own money, but it hardly matters. Because from the time the great white entered our lives, he and Jack have rarely gone a day apart.
Sharky is about three feet in length with a beautiful blue dorsal coat and a white ventral coat. Over the years of being toted from place to place and being lovingly held every night, a great deal of his stuffing has migrated to his extremities, but he still has a charming toothy smile and deep dark eyes that stare out from the abyss to haunt the dreams of wood be nightmares. He has protected Jack everywhere Jack has been for years now and despite his age and occasional use in pillow fights he is none the worse for wear.
Sharky has swam in all sorts of waters over the years. Roaming the halls of our home and playing outside. He has made trips to Disney and Grandma’s house and has watched with his inky black eyes a great deal of the country roll past his window as he served as a pillow for Jack to rest his head on during our familial travels. He has starred in several home-produced commercials and films including his greatest role, advertising for his own medical practice and if you are ever in an accident, you can call his special hotline Dr. Sharky Sharky Sharky 500-3000 for a free consultation to get you back on your feet. Even Jack’s sister is often roped into these productions sitting for interviews and singing the great white’s praises as an excellent physician, a true miracle worker.
For a three-foot stuffed great white shark, he has accomplished quite a lot over the course of his short life and as of today he shows no signs of slowing down either. He will likely serve to bolster the confidence of a little boy for years to come as he faces all sorts of challenges and difficulties in the world that surrounds him. As I watch the two of them sleep tonight, I am reminded of a little sidekick I once had who through my own imagination accompanied me on several adventures. He is a little brown stuffed bear that I used to tie a long sleeve shirt around his neck and throw him around the house, imagining him flying from building too building to rescue some person in need. Super Ted still sits in the top of my closet to this day and maybe one day Sharky may retire as he has but I have a feeling Jack will always remember his special plush friend who made his childhood feel safer and a little more wondrous.