INDIAN HARBOUR BEACH — Amy "Shark Bait" Tatsch lifted her right leg off the chair and showed off a circular trail of scars shaped like a shark's toothy mouth.
Tatsch got chomped in the calf when a 6-foot bull shark crashed into her leg in May in Brevard County, Fla.'s South Beaches.
"This is like my tattoo. I was never brave enough to get a tattoo — and now I've got an awesome story," the 39-year-old boogie boarder said.
Tatsch is hardly alone in her fascination with these predators — sharks are enjoying a pop culture renaissance. No longer the nightmarish monsters of 1975's "Jaws," great whites were recently featured as flying/flaming cannon fodder in the social-media sensation "Sharknado 2: The Second One."
The travels of Katharine, a 2,300-pound great white with a satellite transmitter on her dorsal fin, captured the public's imagination for months.
Sharks return to the spotlight this week with Discovery Channel's 27th annual Shark Week.
The lineup features 13 shows — headlined by "Megalodon: The New Evidence" — and the late-night live talk show "Shark After Dark."
So why are we so spellbound by sharks?
George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, said people are awed because they regard these creatures as forces of nature — or "acts of God" — alongside such phenomenon as hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning.
"Sharks are among the few things on Earth that we as humans can't control," Burgess said.
"We're used to modifying our world in all respects. We've got bigger brains than anybody. We can put dams on great rivers, we can put bridges over gorges, we can tear down sides of mountains, we can blow up a whole city," he said.
"But one-on-one in the water, sharks still are the winner," he said.
The Space Coast surf teems with thousands of blacktips, spinners and other sharks, but they'd prefer not to mess with people. In fact, there could be a better chance of Tara Reid winning a best actress Oscar for "Sharknado 2: The Second One" than there is of being bitten.
FLORIDA TODAY COVERAGE: Sharks sharing our waters
Odds of being killed by a shark are one in 3,748,067, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. That's less likely than death by lightning, fireworks, a train crash or bear attack.
But sharks still bite people. Just ask Orlando's 9-year-old Christian Sanhueza, who suffered a severed Achilles tendon and ligament damage in an Aug. 2 shark attack off Patrick Air Force Base. He recuperated last week at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.
Yet some folks, like Tatsch, are willing to enter the ocean again after an attack. "It doesn't freak me out at all," she said.
After spending the summer recuperating, Tatsch can't wait to hop back on her boogie board. And she's even contemplating a shark-swimming adventure.
Brevard County Ocean Rescue Chief Jeff Scabarozi said that people need to realize that the ocean is the shark's home.
"A lot of times during the summer, you have bait fish close to the beach. Sharks are following them in because that's a food source. And if you look at a good amount of these bites ... the shark is mistaking someone for a food source," Scabarozi said. "They come up, bite an individual and realize it's not what they're accustomed to eating, and let go."