Believe it or not, this is a real photograph:
It hasn’t been photoshopped or digitally modified – it’s just a plain old (yet amazingly cool) picture taken by a guy named Thomas Peschak, for an article called Shark Detectives in the September 2005 issue of Africa Geographic.
It’s a good example of how a still photograph can be even more captivating than a video, as the uncertainty of what happens next is mysteriously intriguing. At the very least, it’s an effective way to capture the attention.
That’s why I inserted the photo into an e-mail to my Friday running group.
For various reasons, the weekly gathering of my training partners on Friday mornings has dwindled significantly over the past several weeks. Injuries, illnesses, work/travel schedules, and general ambivalence have gradually taken their toll – and instead of drawing 4 or 5 other runners on a regular basis, I recently find myself thankful when anyone shows up at all.
So on Thursday, I sent the picture along with the regular reminder, as well as this message:
“The man in the kayak is you. The shark is complacency. Who’s in?”
I figured the symbolic kick in the pants, not to mention the pleasantly early sunrises we enjoyed last week, would get a few more people out to the 6AM start. The e-mail went out to a group of about 10 runners.
The result? Exactly one person showed up. So much for capturing anyone's attention.
Apparently I don’t have quite the persuasive power of a shark - but at least the two of us managed to have a nice run. And I was able to evade the predator of complacency for still one more day.
Finally, in a related story: I’m currently in the market for some Friday morning trail runners. If you happen to know of anyone in the Monterey area who might be interested, please tell them where to find me.(P.S. in case you're wondering ... the shark didn't attack the kayaker.)