The Movie: Jaws, 1975 (Peter Benchley, screenwriter; Steven Spielberg, dir.)
Who says it: Roy Scheider as Amity Police Chief Martin Brody
The context: Brody, the old salt Quint (Robert Shaw) and the scientist Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) have just had their first, nearly fatal, encounter with the great white shark.
How to use it: To indicate that you have badly underestimated the job at hand. Or maybe just when you want your colleagues and superiors to think you’re working really, really hard.
Thanks to my friend John Erath and to my brother Ed for suggesting today's quotation, which ranks with the greatest movie lines of all time. I'd been reluctant to use it, because -- believe it or not -- I've never actually seen Jaws all the way through. I was nine the summer it came out, and I think I was the only person in my fifth grade class who hadn't seen it. (I did, however, read the MAD magazine version.) Mom wouldn't allow it, and that was probably a good call. Later, it became one of those movies I just never got around to, and then I became embarrassed to admit I hadn't seen it.
One of the cable networks was showing it last night, though, and in a bout of extreme insomnia I watched most of it. It's still very effective, and I agree with my mother that my nine-year-old brain could not have handled it at all.
Every major undertaking hits a point at which one says, "This is just impossible. What was I thinking?" I'm there this morning. Fortunately, experience reminds me that I always feel this way just before I get it all done.