Shark Week! An exciting time in America, and an exciting time all around the world – but have you ever asked yourself how Shark Week began? As you and your loved ones celebrate Shark Week in your local parks, city centers, mosques, hobo jungles and shopping malls, and as you enjoy such traditional Shark Week food fare as gummi remoras and kosher chum, have you ever stopped to consider how long people have been celebrating the Shark, and for that matter, a whole week of sharks?
Have you ever asked yourself where this fun family festival first originated? From what dark, insidious rituals did our celebrations arise? What terrifying forces have guided the hand – or dare I say "fin" – of destiny, scrying a sinister tattoo across the canvas of humanity's very fate? And where did the traditional jaunty Shark Week ceremonial dance, "The Mako Knuckler" originate?
Well, we don't know, but what follows is much of what historians suggest is the history of what we know today as Shark Week!
4,540,000,001 Years Ago
There are not yet any sharks, and therefore no Shark Week.
4,540,000,000 Years Ago
NOW there are sharks, but not any weeks yet. Give it time.
420 Million Years BC
Predating by several hundred million years the arrival of so-called "dinosaurs" (which, translated from the Latin, means literally "Holy Crap, That Thing's Going To Kill Us"), sharks populate every corner of the Earth and literally rule the oceans. Specifically, they rule with a mix of representative parliamentary democracy and European style Socialism, often called a "Sharkocracy". Truly, this is a golden age, when every week is shark week (by parliamentary Sharkocratic decree).
Crude cave paintings dating back to this era have recently been discovered in central Europe. Depicting scenes of everyday life, the paintings show Neolithic hunters tracking and killing wild sharks, as well as taming them and riding them like ponies. This has led many paleontologists and historians to decry Neolithic Man as "A bunch of making things up liars."
5,000 Years Ago
This is when God actually created the Earth (and thus all sharks, and weeks), so ignore everything that's come before now.
A shark is born in Jerusalem, Hosanna in the highest!
Pope Pius IV declares the first known festival which most closely resembles what we understand today as "Shark Week", largely appropriating a pagan fertility celebration which ran at the same time of year. Protestant reformers decry the holiday for its heathen overtones, but are thankfully slaughtered by papal authorities well before they can harsh anyone's buzz too bad.
In honor of Shark Week ("Ye Weeke Os The Sharketh", in Elizabethan English), Shakespeare stages his controversial "Hamlet Versus the Megalodon". The "Coelecanth Monologue" continues to be rated as one of the greatest pieces of stagecraft in the history of modern drama.
June 7, 1879
Sharks are officially patented on this date by prolific inventor Thomas Alva Edison, following groundbreaking research conducted at his Menlo Park laboratories in which alternating sharks were successfully sent to a surprised household in Great Neck (There were no survivors).
A curious side effect of this document is that, legally speaking, sharks are considered to never have existed before this date. In order to avoid a lawsuit, you should once again ignore everything that's come before now.