CRAIG BROWN: Great Oprah Interviews of our time Part II – Jaws
CRAIG BROWN: ‘My truth is that she bit me first!’… Great Oprah Interviews of our time Part II – Jaws
Oprah: Thank you for inviting me to your lovely home in the sea.
Jaws: You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.
Oprah: You look great! And your smile! Those famous teeth! And, oh, my goodness — so this is the famous blue ocean off Amity Island! Tell me about your days as a baby shark. Did other fish, maybe the tuna or dolphins, ever call you names? Other fish can be so cruel.
Jaws: Yeah. [looks downcast, lower jaw trembles]. Now I’m getting all choked up.
Oprah: Take your time.
Jaws: Yeah … in fact, it was they who first called me Jaws.
Oprah: Mm-hmm. So what was your real name? What did your mom call you?
Oprah: A beautiful name. Did it break your mom’s heart when you told her the other fish were calling you Jaws?
Craig Brown writes: ‘Oprah: You look great! And your smile! Those famous teeth! And, oh, my goodness — so this is the famous blue ocean off Amity Island! Tell me about your days as a baby shark. Did other fish, maybe the tuna or dolphins, ever call you names? Other fish can be so cruel’
Oprah: So let’s move on to 1975. It was a hot, hot summer, here on Amity Island. You were — what? Just enjoying basking in the warm water, taking it easy, like everybody else? Were you even inside your body at that time?
Jaws: No, I didn’t have many people inside my body at that time. See, I was on the 5:2 diet. But then someone … made me cry, claiming I’d eaten an adult holidaymaker.
Oprah: Wh-what? Let me get this right. They said … you’d eaten an adult holidaymaker?
Jaws: Right. When really the reverse happened.
Oprah: Explain what you mean by that…
Jaws: She — the holidaymaker — tried to eat me. And that hurt my feelings. But I don’t want to get into the detail. I just felt a little nibble, so I had to retaliate.
Oprah: Mm-hmm. Like anyone would in that position.
Jaws: As you say, like anyone would. And that was when … Police Chief Brody started putting out nasty information against me.
Oprah: Notices appeared all over town saying things like ‘Don’t go in the water, Jaws will eat you alive’ and ‘Danger: Jaws’.
Jaws: Yeah. I was just doing my job, swimming and smiling, showing my lovely white teeth. It was, like, character assassination.
Oprah: You must have been hurting. What was going on with you, internally, at that time?
Jaws: You mean, digestion-wise? I found those Lycra swimsuits a problem.
Oprah: No one wants to be accused of eating people alive. That’s hurtful.
Jaws: Right. And then I heard they’d put a $3,000 bounty out on me.
Oprah: Wh-what? Say that again! Whoah! I’m shocked!
Craig Brown writes: ‘Oprah: You have your own truth. Not only that, but you have your own tooth. Am I right? And, as a shark, you had to learn to love yourself’
Jaws: And I would sit up at night, thinking, like, how can this be happening? And my mom and my friends, they were calling me, crying, saying: ‘George, this is doing nothing for your reputation as a shark. How can they let this happen?’
At some point you’re going to go: ‘But, you guys, someone just tell the truth.’
Oprah: You have your own truth. Not only that, but you have your own tooth. Am I right? And, as a shark, you had to learn to love yourself.
Jaws: Right. I was always there for the tourists and holidaymakers. I wanted to reach out to them. I loved them all to bits. To little bits.
Oprah: So you must have hurt when you read those headlines in the Amity Gazette, saying ‘Jaws Weighs Three Tons’.
Jaws: It was fat-shaming, pure and simple. And, like, I’m speaking as someone who’s had issues with his body-image. Over that summer, I’d been working on my beach body, through swimming and exercise, and cutting down on tourists, just eating the little ones. So I’d got my weight down to 2.8, 2.7. I was so proud. So that’s when they print these doctored photographs making me look like an XXL and claiming I’m, like, over 3 tons.
Oprah: Hold up! No one should have to go through that.
Jaws: Then my friends told me Police Chief Brody had sent three men to chase after me in a boat armed with rifles and harpoons.
Jaws: And whenever I appeared, he’d make sure that this horrible, threatening music was played — like, da-da-da-da-DUM-DUM! — to make people think I was some kind of threat.
Jaws: When — hey! — I was just dropping by to say ‘hello’. But no one thought to say: ‘Thank you for all your hard work patrolling the ocean.’ All I ever wanted — sob! —was to make them proud.
Oprah: Thank you for trusting me to share your narrative.
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