My, What Big Teeth That Ad Has

By John Kelly
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Silver Spring . . . there it was: a shark.

A great white, with a head 50 feet long and three stories high, a double row of leering triangular teeth and lifeless black eyes -- like a doll's eyes -- hanging off the side of the Discovery Communications building.

Yesterday, Yimer Bekele, Agnes Krofah and Darryll Flammer looked up at the massive shark while waiting at the Metro station for the S2 bus downtown.

"It's very nice," said Yimer, 65, of the shark, which consists of five blimplike appendages on the building's sides and roof: a head, a tail, a dorsal fin and two pectoral fins.

We were standing in the shark's path, roughly where a hopeful fisherman might ladle out a line of chum. If that huge shark were real, I pointed out, we would make a very tasty morsel.

"Then again, if it was real, it would be dead, wouldn't it?" said Agnes, 27, not unreasonably, given that:

a) The shark was out of water.

b) The shark was not in constant motion.

c) The shark looked as if it had been stuffed into a cat carrier two sizes too small.

Still, the effect was impressive.

"That's Discovery," said Darryll, 39. "They do grand things like that."

The giant inflatable shark is in honor of the cable channel's 19th annual Shark Week, which starts July 30. It's the centerpiece of a feeding frenzy of sharkocentric activity. The AFI Silver Theatre is showing Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" through Friday. Bars and restaurants are mixing up such cocktails as the Sharktini, the Sharkbite and the Land Shark.

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