A Tail of a Whale
The Far Side Comes to Life in Oregon
After a 45-foot, eight-ton dead whale washed up on an Oregon beach, the Oregon State Highway Department was assigned responsibility for getting rid of it. Whales and highways are very similar in the sense of being large objects. But in fact, the beaches in Oregon are considered part of the state highway system. The Highway Department is therefore responsible for fixing potholes as well as for removing dead whales from the highway. However, being a department somewhat short on biologists but long on engineers (most of whom probably couldn’t tell the difference between a dorsal fin and a baleen) it was left to the engineers to devise a method for removing the whale. The plan that they hit upon was to blow the whale to bits with dynamite and then watch its consumption by local seagulls. The plan had two weak points: First, whales are composed of bones and cartilage not easily dislodged from each other and second, modern seagulls prefer french fries and tampons to decaying whale blubber.
Not being aware of these critical facts, the engineers in charge moved the spectators back up the beach, put half a ton of dynamite next to the whale and set it off. The entire event was filmed by a local IV news show. The resulting video is a wonderful event: First you see the carcass disappear in a huge blast of smoke and flame; then you her happy spectators shouting “Yaaaay!” and “Aleee!” Suddenly the crowd’s tone changes as you begin hearing sounds such as “splud” and something hits the camera lens. Huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere, including one piece which caved in the roof of a car parked nearly a quarter of a mile away. Remaining on the beach were condominium-size pieces neatly held together by bones and cartilage. There was no sign of the seagulls, who had moved on to the nearby dump to feast on things more familiar to them.
Begin by selecting a morsel below or from the sandy column just to the right -->
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