A headline in the paper has me concerned. Not concerned for the actual state of sharkdom, but concerned for the perceived state of sharkdom.

Right here on the front page it says that alligators are the new sharks. WTF?

Are we both killing machines? Check.

Elusive predators that strike fear in the hearts of juicy humans? Double check.

Do our beady black lifeless eyes cause children to shit themselves? You betcha.

It’s true that our reptilian friends have made great advances in the arena of human-eating. And the last wish of this shark is to belittle their accomplishments. But when I read that alligators are the new sharks, the gnawed-off leg of a diver turns in my stomach. Alligators are gaining a higher profile, what with their dog-eating and old-lady-biting. But few of these incidents result in death, and in many cases the offending alligator is hunted down and killed. Try pulling something like that with a shark. Seriously, try. There’s no way you are going to get the right one. And, while that in itself is a little bothersome to some members of the shark community, I personally see it as the cost of doing business, especially when that business involves eating large sections of teenage torso, which, I assure you, does not taste like chicken.

With all of the accessibility advantages that alligators have over sharks, what with their ability to walk on land and all, you’d think they’d be able to put up some pretty impressive human-consumption numbers. But they don’t seem up to it. Instead, they lounge around in the sun letting rows and rows of primordial teeth go to waste. All the while, sharks are consistently killing between 50 and 75 humans annually. Sharks never miss a meal. Be it a kid at the beach, or a surfer’s thigh, or some skinny-dippers out for a little romance. We are absolutely indiscriminate and very, very hungry. And have I mentioned scary as motherfuckers?

People really have to look no further than their own pop-culture references to realize that alligators are not the new sharks.

What’s the most terrifying movie of all time? Jaws. What’s the next-most-terrifying movie of all time? Open Water. What do these films have in common? Not alligators, I assure you.