Hi Avery,

Today’s lesson is for the both of us, and together were going to learn from Steven Spielberg and his 1975 classic thriller, “Jaws”.

Before you get out of the water and close this blog for the summer, I must remind you that this is only a lesson, not some misguided encouragement to spoil the holy grail of the summer blockbuster. So get aboard this ship because:

“I have a bigger boat”

Jaws is considered one of the greatest cinematic thrillers ever made, and is regarded with a love from multiple generations and cultures of movie-goers. But there is a story about the making of this film that has resonated with my philosophical ideals of parenthood.

Avery, I day-dream about the many ways I will achieve the status “worlds greatest Dad”, and I don’t mean some $5 coffee mug people buy as a cute father’s day gift. This is an actual award to be presented in my honor & likeness and commemorate the greatest Father of the year. As genuine and naive as this goal may be, it has also left me conflicted. I have began to wonder if being the best is actually for the best?

Spielberg arrived on location with his screenplay, storyboards and actors ready to craft Hollywood magic. Also in tow was three different pneumatic Sharks controlled by a dozen special effect experts. Spielberg was ready to make audiences around the world be afraid to swim in open-water. I’ll never forget being at the beach and telling my younger sister, “Yes, a shark just like jaws lives in Lake Michigan”.

Avery, I wonder what your grand-parents would think if they could re-wind time and raise me again? Who would I be today if they were to reboot the process of my creation and right all their wrongs? Whatever their thought or reaction to this question may be, I want to take a moment and expunge them of their failures. Because in hindsight I turned out … alright. I have a steady job, a great life-partner and a strong passion for art & adventure; this was not magic or luck that I have learned to thrive in my environment. This leaves us with the key question of the lesson still unanswered, “is much of my current day success attributed to failure as well as successes?”.

Steven Spielberg has answered this question for us. The mechanical shark failed, and Spielberg had to shoot a movie about a shark, without a shark. Nearly every scene in the first half of the film had to be gutted and re-written on location. Everybody involved had to wonder if they were witnessing one of the greatest Hollywood train-wrecks ever. Let’s just assume Spielberg shared their doubts; but the money had already been spent and there was no way out. The wheels of life had been set in motion and a movie would be made for better or worse. Spielberg did his best to adapt on the fly, and judge for yourself, here is a scene that had no Shark.

Avery, live your life like the artist that accepts failure as a companion for success and not the threat. Spielberg did this, my parents did it, and Avery I promise to do the same for you. We only have one life to live, regret is a fantasy for the living, and a Jaws remake would suck.