It might be the coolest job opportunity out there. But it might also be the scariest.
The Discovery Channel this week announced that it was searching for its first-ever Chief Shark Officer, preferably some sort of celebrity, to serve in that capacity in advance of and during the network’s popular “Shark Week” series as it enters its 24th year.
The faint-of-heart need not apply. The job requirements section reads: “Must enjoy exotic, waterfront locations, buff bodies in bathing suits and having the bejesus scared out of you.”
[Photos: Heidi the cross-eyed opossum]
It continues: “Looking delicious in a wetsuit is a plus. Sense of humor required.”
The pay isn’t much but think about where this might lead. Shark Week, spawned by the success of “Jaws” and the absolute shark-mania generated by the 1970s thriller, has become a summertime institution, centered solely around the world’s most notorious predator.
In a Fox News story on the Discovery Channel’s peculiar job listing, renowned shark expert George Burgess explained that part of the allure of large sharks, which he referred to as “charismatic megafauna,” stems from their being one of a few powerful forces over which humans who enter the ocean have no control.
“We expect the natural world to sort of part in front of us and give us assurances that we’re safe all the time,” said Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research. “Nothing could be farther from the truth. They’re one of the few animals on earth that can cause harm to a human or even death.
“In a world that we humans control in so many different ways because of our brains and our technology, the fact that there is still an animal out there that can kill us flies in the face of our haughty sensibilities.”
[See also: Sea Shepherd attacks Japanese whaling ship]
That’s a mouthful, but certainly words to remember for whomever lands the Chief Shark Officer job. After all, that person will be expected to know something about sharks.
The job description reads, in part: “As the CSO, you will be required to swim with sharks (accompanied by professionals, of course), attend Shark premiere parties in N.Y., L.A. and Miami (accompanied by celebrities, of course) and help spread the word about the world’s most misunderstood predator.”
Those interested are asked to send resumes, audition tapes “and blood type” to the Discovery Channel, c/o Elizabeth Hillman. And don’t worry, among the benefits the CSO will receive are “lots and lots of insurance and some great dentistry, naturally.”
– Images are courtesy of the Discovery Channel
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