Saturday, January 22, 2011

Whale Poop, Segment One

It's a great moment in anyone's life when he finds out he's made his mark on the world. Consider poor Columbus, who could only be described as at sea on his best day--he blunders onto a coastline and what happens but they give him his own day. His own day! Any time all the mailmen get the day off because of you, you know you've had an impact. Not just all the mailmen in Portland, either, like that day back in the seventies after Al Ainsworth's party. ALL of them.

We can't all get our own day, but everyone likes to be well thought of. And just recently, I realized I am, well, thought of. In one week I received a photograph of a butterfly on a moist turd and three different people sent me a link to the same story about whale poop, and all of them said they were thinking of me. And it's not the first time. People are always sending me shit.

I am reminded of the wonder of poop every day, and if you're lucky, so are you. Any number of things fascinate me about it; there are themes I find myself coming back to with regularity. One of them is perspective. From our perspective, poop is something we're done with. We've gotten everything out of our food that we can use, not counting the stuff we're stacking up in case we need it later, and then we get rid of the rest. If we don't get rid of it, that makes us hoarders, and we get to be on television (see Buried Alive; Glenn Beck).

But that is just our perspective. Flies, on the other hand, will gather with their families around a man squatting in the forest and say: "See that, kids? That's the dispenser right there. You put your pizza and weenies up there in the top end, and you wait a few days, give it a little churn, and then out comes the good stuff. There it is! Let's go, kids!" And off they go with their little fly napkins and bibs. It's a happy day.

What really floored me about the whale poop story is that what with all the hustle and bustle of daily life, I've never given whale shit the slightest thought. As embarrassing as it is to admit for a poop fan like myself, when it comes to marine poop I'm just an aficionado out of water. All I know is there are lots of living things in the sea, dozens really, and what is euphemistically called "mud" on the sea floor must be the accumulation of everything from plankton poo to seahorseshit. And crabs and halibut scoot around in the stuff like it's Egyptian Cotton, right before we eat them.

So for both of you still reading, tune in next Wednesday and find out what I've learned about whale poop. It's a really big story, and you're going to want to see how it comes out.

26 comments:

  1. Yep, you're bookmarked.(Well, I believe it was the wombat extrusion that hooked me...)

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  2. Something I never ever gave a thought to before today. "Aficionado out of water"? Never! You will need to add some new links on your sidebar after this, I think. :-)

    I wouldn't miss this, so you're on.

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  3. Anxiously awaiting your next post. Perhaps I can use you as a reference for my "Whose Scat is That?" interpretive program...

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  4. Very, very, very funny...stuff. Thanks for starting my day with a few laughs.

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  5. I can hardly wait! Straining at the leash.

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  6. "I am reminded of the wonder of poop every day, and if you're lucky, so are you."

    Truer and wiser words were never spoken. Praise God for regularity.

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  7. Wonderful post. Love your sense of humor. I'll be here to learn about whale poop.

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  8. Well, Murr, that does it. Here comes small pay for big laughs. I've been thinking about sacrificing my 1989 scat ID T-shirt to this scatological cause, even though there's not even a hint about the whales. It does have its own thesaurus entry printed right there and handy, however, all the way from "ordure," which sounds like a giggle-stifling confusion with those cute little munchies people serve with drinks, to others, um, less elegant.
    I'll bring the T to Willamette Writers.

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  9. On the poop deck awaiting yer post, matey. Yarrrr

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  10. The only theme "I find myself coming back to with regularity" is that I am sadly a "hoarder". Gotta get me some algae.

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  11. Hah! I'm unable to come by for days and days, and when I finally do, it's to read about doo. Unlike you, though, I think about fish poop all the time, especially when I'm swimming and sucking up all that lake and ocean water. It kinda makes me queasy, Murr, I gotta tell ya. I know it's natural, but still...

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  12. Orca shit? Sperm what? You know, I believe you have just illucidated why there's salt in the sea and we can't drink it straight out of the bottle. Thank gawd!

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  13. "an aficionado out of water." Genius!

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  14. Arkansas accent required as you read the following:
    We-e-e-e-lllll poop!
    An Ah thawt we'd git th'end of the tale today!

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  15. Yee haw, June! Y'all'll hefta wait till Wednesday--it's jammed up in the pipeline.

    Jayne: oatmeal and yogurt, dahling.

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  16. We are so blessed by evolution that the common ancestor of the great whales decided to return from the land back into the sea. I cannot imagine what our sidewalks would look like had the Cetaceans not mercifully decided to reverse-evolve.

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  17. I'll be back to find out. I'm just glad that the sea is so large -- and that whales don't frequent my beaches.

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  18. I'm getting a mental picture of Laura Dern with her arm in dino-doo up to the elbow...I'll bet that's one of your favorite movie scenes, isn't it Murr?

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  19. Who, pray tell, sent the butterfly on the poop pic? It reminds me of a photo I once blew up and framed, in a waggish moment, of a beautiful, bedewed, pale pink mountain laurel blossom lit by a watery early morning shaft of sunlight. If you looked closely, you could see a tiny fly on the bloom. Only I knew that the pretty flower hovered about two inches above a huge, fresh dog turd--hence, the fly. Guess where I hung it?

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  20. Huh. Sounds like a steamy portrait. I believe it was my bloggrlfriend Abby who sent me the photo. She am a good photographer, yes she am.

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  21. nice photographs u have used... fish in sand is gud

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  22. nice photographs u have used... fish in sand is gud

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  23. Orca shit? Sperm what? You know, I believe you have just illucidated why there's salt in the sea and we can't drink it straight out of the bottle. Thank gawd!

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  24. On the poop deck awaiting yer post, matey. Yarrrr

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  25. Yep, you're bookmarked.(Well, I believe it was the wombat extrusion that hooked me...)

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