PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — What does the exploding whale incident of 1970 have in common with the coronavirus? Well, one English municipality took to Twitter on Monday to explain in a history lesson that has reached from South Yorkshire to Oregon.
Doncaster Council, the verified Twitter account for an English district just east of Manchester, said three key things could be gleaned from the infamous time local authorities on the Oregon coast blew up a rotting whale carcass in November of 1970.
As the story goes, a 45-foot sperm whale had washed ashore near Florence and local authorities debated over how to properly dispose of the massive, rotting carcass. Doncaster Council listed the possibilities in its thread: leaving the carcass to decompose or chopping it up and hauling it away in pieces. And then, there was the idea to blow it up. The theory behind that was that the seagulls would take care of the rest once it was broken down into small bits.
The final idea won out.
The thread cites that a former military member did offer their advice: there was no way that that much dynamite was necessary for the job at hand. But that advice went unheeded. On the day of November 12, 1970, a small crowd gathered at the beach to watch a moment that would go down in Oregon history.
As many locals know, the plan failed spectacularly. Massive chunks of blubber rained down on the people watching. One particularly large chunk destroyed a nearby car. The mess it created was far worse than the original problem–and a fair amount of the carcass remained unmoved, intact.
So, how can we apply this lesson to today? As Doncaster Council iterates:
The City of Florence couldn’t help but agree with the English council’s history lesson:
When we stay home, we all do our part to not
cover everyone in decaying whale blubber spread the coronavirus.