Ask Me How

A crowd of frightened beachgoers flee the ocean in an exalted state of panicky fright as word spreads that there’s a great white shark in the water: “The next time you watch Jaws pay close attention to the Fourth of July scene, the part where there’s a false alarm, where everyone is running out of the water even though it’s just a couple of kids pretending to be the shark. I was an extra in that scene, in the way back, almost out of the frame, and as I was running towards the beach somebody, and no one has ever figured out who it was, shot me in the leg. Had the bullet entered a millimeter higher it would have clipped my femoral artery and I probably wouldn’t be here today. No one knows where the shot came from. The authorities combed over the footage for months and were totally stumped. The bullet went in and it went out and somewhere in the water, so they never found it. Eventually people started to tell me that I made the whole thing up. But I have the scar to prove it really happened. Somebody shot me that day and it affected me in a very negative way for a long, long time. I became very depressed and anxious. I lost my job. I stayed home all day and ate those, what do you call them, those Sara Lee pound cakes. I weighed over three hundred pounds at one point, and as you can see, I’m a very petite woman. Being obese made me feel sorry for myself and so I drank. One morning I was driving my kids to school and I was drunk and I got into a car accident. No one was hurt, thankfully, but my husband had had enough and so he left me. After that I lost contact with my kids. I had no friends. My family wasn’t much help either. They didn’t know what to do or say. Everyone would ask me what was wrong and I would tell them that somebody shot me in the leg, but no one understood why it was such a big deal. They all told me I needed to get over it. They said, Okay, you got shot, that’s horrible, but you’re alive, and that’s all that matters. I made little stabs at trying to get my life back on track, but I just couldn’t. And then I discovered Herbalife. They tell you, they say, have one shake for breakfast and one shake for lunch and then a light dinner, and it sounds so easy, too easy, but it works. What I liked the most is that I didn’t have to think about what to have for breakfast and lunch. I liked having a plan. It made me feel, uh, like, certain about things, if that makes any sense. And that’s what I needed in my life. I needed certainty. Because ever since the whole Jaws incident I felt like my life was, um, boundless, I guess is the best way to put it. I mean, there were no boundaries. That’s what I mean. And drinking those shakes kind of cordoned me off, made me feel protected. Now, this is off the record of course, since I’m now working at Herbalife, but yes, the shakes taste God awful. Someone once described the taste as concrete and milk mixed with a fistful of grass, and that about sums it up. But you get used to it, the taste. And I’ve lost almost two hundred pounds since I started drinking them, so who am I to complain, right? I’m married to one of the top research and development scientists at the company, and we started our own family, which was a complete surprise, because I thought, at the time, that I was too old to have another child. Life has been good, and what happened to me is in the past. I don’t let it get to me anymore, although I will admit that I’m morbidly curious about the multiple incidents of extras who were shot on movie sets during the 1970s. There’s a gentleman I keep in contact with, he was in Earthquake, and while running out of a building during the big quake scene he got shot in the shoulder. I’ve met him in person and he’s in very good shape. I think he’s a jogger. And there’s another woman, she’s a little bit older than me, she was in The Poseidon Adventure and she was an extra in the dining room scene, the part where the waves hits and flips the boat over, and she had a bullet go in her face, in one cheek and out the other, and I’ve met her too, and she has the scars to prove it. I got her to invest in a month worth of shakes. The first time she tried one she threw up and I never heard from her again.”

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