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Talk of the Town - Shark's tale October 28 2004

Outdoor bathing on Lake Sinclair

John Parker is a successful small-wares distributor by trade, but shines brightest when he's away from the daily grind and behind his saws and sanders. His taste for marine-inspired art is evident as soon as you enter his A-frame house on Lake Sinclair and find yourself face-to-fin with a plethora of hand-carved fish and an anatomically correct, life-sized mermaid.

She may be beautiful, but she's not the reason why boaters stop on an almost daily basis and stare toward Parker's property, amazed at what they think they see. They're looking at Parker's 15-foot-long, steel-framed shark. Those who venture close find not only a door that allows entry into the shark's belly, but inside they can also hear the Jaws theme song followed by Bob Marley playing in the background. Perhaps the only shark in the world with hot and cold running water, Parker is always proud to show off "K-Bite," his 550-pound shark shower.

Creative Loafing: Why on earth would you want to build a shark?

Parker: One time, there was about 18 of us down here at the lake, and with only one shower, you're always kind of in line. I was talking to my niece about things I had been building and I decided that I wanted to build a shark. She thought it was a cool idea.

How did it get its unique name?

My niece, Karen, is a big fan of sharks. I named it K-Bite as a tribute to her.

What made you think you could build something this enormous?

I've done a lot of wood carving in the past, just in my garage. In my lake house, I've got a 7-foot sailfish, two 5-foot barracudas, some wooden herrings and a life-sized mermaid.

Do you get many compliments from passers-by?

Oh, yeah, all the time. We'll be sitting out on the dock and a boat will cruise up in the cove to take a look at it. They'll ask if it's a real shark and I'll tell them it sure is. Sometimes I'll tell them that I caught it off the dock with a flat tail worm.

Any of them ask to take a shower in it?

Oh, sure.

Do you let them?

Absolutely!

Now that you've cornered the market on shark showers, any other ideas in the works?

There are so many possibilities for outdoor showers. You could do a lot of things. A catfish would be great because, like the shark, a catfish has a big mouth. You could do a yellowfin tuna or a barracuda. I've even thought of doing a beer can shower.

One last question. Can I take a shark shower?

Of course!

Want your very own outdoor shower and need advice? Drop Parker a line at sharkshower@aol.com.

cityhomes@creativeloafing.com