A whale of a holiday

Here it is mid-April with no real holidays to look forward to. There are no lines at the mall, no annoying songs, no waiting at the post office and definitely no fat slob dressed up as some fictitious character eagerly awaiting a visit from your children.

While most holidays have managed to disassociate the means and the meaning, we have successfully disenfranchised ourselves from the true reason for the holiday in the first place.

With that in mind, it crossed my mind that we need a new holiday.

Something seems wrong with no meaningless, consumerist event to look forward to this time of year. Since I haven’t been busy buying chocolates and gifts or thinking of our savior’s birth, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the internet.

In the endless journey of the internet surfer, I stumbled upon an event that cut through the monotony of trivial internet meanderings and provided me with a gem of meaning in my dark hour: a whale explosion.

Yes, you read correctly. As the story goes, an eight-ton, 45-foot, dead sperm whale washed up onto the beach near Florence, Ore., in early November 1970. By Nov. 12, the smell of the huge rotting creature was unbearable and the Oregon Department of Transportation was given the responsibility of cleaning it up. So somebody cooked up the idea that instead of burying it, or somehow towing it out to sea, they would simply blow it up with dynamite. Hey, it works in the movies, right?

The blast was intended to blow the bits out to sea for the circling seagulls. Well, the explosives went off and blew only a section of whale into small, bite-sized bits which came raining down on the onlookers and one piece even damaged a car.

I think we should use this fantastic event to liven up one of our darker months. I think we should have some holiday to commemorate this great event 35 years ago.

So many holidays stem from seemingly uneventful happenings at the time, such as Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and arguably Christmas. Maybe the month of November should be Exploding Whale Awareness Month, with the pinnacle being the holiday on Nov. 12.

Because November is quite a few months from July, this day should be a national holiday where schools are closed and everyone plays with fire crackers, by tying or taping ladyfingers or black cats to small dead sea creatures then lighting the fuse. Folks by the great lakes and oceans have it made. On this day we could have a citywide fireworks display. Think of all of the pyrotechnics in the dark November sky!

I know, this holiday seems ridiculous, so to help it gain more acceptance in mainstream society we should add a consumerist element to “help the economy.” One suggestion would be to have someone dress up in a whale outfit and walk around shopping centers and malls, shaking hands with little kids and giving them candy and coupons for the nearest toy store to get them in the shopping mood.

Maybe families could have a giant whale pi�ata in the living room and some lore about how exploding whales miraculously fly out of the ocean to bring everyone some goodies and not only to those girls and boys whose parents are in a certain tax bracket. Insignificant gifts can be exchanged between strangers and acquaintances wrapped in whale-motif wrapping paper. That way it promotes friendship and peace, even if it is only at the surface level.

There would be special gifts for lovers, too, like the whale-shaped chocolates that have a cherry pop-rock filling for that exploding-whale taste sensation. Famous musicians would sing songs about the story and have children sing along to perpetuate the holiday. Of course there must be a drinking element or else it’s not a holiday, so we should keep the rules simple – drink till you explode like the whale and puke.

This holiday should replace the one we already have in November. A holiday that includes fireworks, gifts and mysterious lore about exploding sea creatures sure beats the hell out of the one we have commemorating the beginning of oppression, genocide and imperialism through overindulgence, waste and consumerism.

Seth Lewin can be reached at [email protected]