Their thought process went something like this:
- We cannot bury it because it is too large, and there is too little sand in that area.
- Moving it would be too much of a task to undertake. That would mean towing it off shore most likely.
- Sea gulls like eating dead things.
- So if we can’t bury it or tow it, we should blow the whale up into small enough chunks, and let the sea gulls take care of the problem.
Great minds were clearing trying to solve this problem. They all decided that blowing it up with dynamite was the correct solution. The sea gulls will be in heaven as a side benefit.
The day of the great whale explosion was met with lots of spectators as well as a Portland news station.
And they blew it up – and created one hell of a smell mess and damaged cars.
Paul Linnman was the young reporter on the scene at that time. He remained a reporter in Portland until his retirement recently. Hell, he even wrote a book about his time reporting the news where this story in particular was highlighted. He talked about not getting the smell out for days.
And his greatest line from the newscast: “The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.”
I actually have a copy of this video. I play it on days where I feel like nothing is going right. Where nothing I try to do goes as planned. And, while watching and laughing at the absurdity of this story, I remind myself that at least none of my ideas involved dynamite and a large dead whale – nor was the stupidity captured for all to see almost 40 years later.
I mean, the guy who had that idea – he is still not able to live it down. You should have things blow up in your face every once in a while – sometimes those things are the greatest teachers in life. But, blowing up a fucking whale? At least I didn’t do that!
To read more about this incident and the media attention that went along with it (including columns by Dave Barry), check out TheExplodingWhale site. And, if you are looking for a fun and uplifting book to read about Paul Linnman’s life, check out his book. Definitely worth a read.
Regardless, watch the whale and feel good about yourself and your ideas. Did you blow up a whale? No? Then you’re good.