Here’s another example of planning to write one thing but ending up writing about something entirely differently. I somehow thought of the expression “Jump the Shark” which has come to mean that the peak has been reached and it’s all downhill from here. It refers to an episode of the television show “Happy Days” in which Fonzie (Henry Winkler) wearing swim trunks, his trademark leather jacket and water skis jumps over a caged shark.
I wanted to ponder the poor writer who wrote that episode; I was sure he was grateful to be unknown or at least forgotten. He killed one of the most popular shows on television. A show that was practically based on George Lucas movie, “American Graffiti!”
I made the mistake of doing a little research. It turns out that Fred Foxx, Jr. wrote the episode which was shown on September 20, 1977. Rather than heralding the end of the series, “Happy Days” continued for nearly seven more years.
How many television programs would kill for a seven year total run?
It got me thinking as to how many other things we’re sure we know. How many things we know we just can’t live without. How many people we think we’d trade places with. The car we’d die for. Whatever.
“Jumping the shark” is a great sound bite. Sometimes in order to capitalize on the sound bite you have to change the reality to fit it.
I think I prefer to understand what the reality is before I accept the sound bite.