My dedicated readers have wondered what I would blog about next. Well, here’s the unlikely answer: whale poop.
Dont scoff, dont laugh, and dont call me crazy. When it comes to crazy, my family and I hold the presumed badge of authority, kind of like Doc Holliday and the trigger-happy Earp brothers in Tombstone Arizona. Slightly scary thought, right? So just listen up and learn. This info could make you filthy rich someday, either on TV shows like Jeopardy or in the French perfumery business. Allow me to explain.
First let’s get the coincidental yet peripheral facts out of the way. There is a lovely island in the Caribbean right off Belize named Ambergris Caye. The genius-lunatic John McAfee, the drug-crazed hacker who developed the first anti-virus software (until he was recently chased across South America for possibly shooting his cranky next door neighbor) lived there. Having a penchant for young girls, firearms and inventing new strains of chemical bath salts (with Viagra-like side-effects) eventually made him unpopular with the Belizean government. His life story is definitely a future Hollywood blockbuster starring Johnny Depp in a desperate attempt to resurrect his Captain Jack Sparrow channeling Hunter Thompson role and hopefully blot out the cinematic eyesore and financial ruin resulting from his Jack Sparrow doing Tonto performance in The Lone Ranger.
Apparently “ambergris”, when translated correctly means “whale shit”, even tho I’m not sure of the Latin or Greek root-word or it’s actual linguistic origin. For some reason, I never even considered the fact that whales, like most other living things, need to “drop trough” and pinch a loaf of whatever foul excrement results from that-which-whales ingest. I guess I was too involved with myself, as usual, and my own bowel behavior. Anybody with Germanic genes, regardless of their ethnicity or religious upbringing can attest to the tendency. Not only do Jewish people and those of German descent have a predilection for counting, ordering and sorting everything obsessively but they also initialize, weigh, number, type, stamp and write it all down in great detail. Sadly, tragically, almost inconceivably, the Nazi regime during WWII actually kept meticulous records and triplicate copies of the many millions of people they were exterminating like rats. It should therefore come as no surprise that the German people as well as those they once attempted to liquidate might lean toward keeping a mental record of their own bowel movements including noting any lack of “regularity” or sufficient “production” (see my earlier blog entitled “Hitler’s Farts”).
Luckily other mammals, including whales are less obsessive-compulsive and, as a result, they tend to just live, eat, shit, and eventually die of natural causes, especially if we the Nazi-like species of our time and place dont kill them off in droves as is our predilection. Whales keep no notes and could care less if their poo sinks or floats. However, we humans apparently do care, and, as a result, there are some very excited marine biologists, whale experts and assorted archeologists who are at present high-fiving each other like NASA engineers after a successful space launch. The article referenced below goes into extreme and unnecessary detail about someone apparently finding the “Holy Grail of Whale Shit”, some kind of 2 million year old hunk of calcified whale crap with prehistoric squid beaks sticking out of it. More amazing this hunk of incredibly old shit was discovered in the badlands of Umbria in central Italy, a lovely place I’ve been told by my brother. If this becomes another major eco-tourist attraction after seeing the Colliseum and touring Pompeii, I will eat my therapy hat…and sometime later shit it out intact.
Ok, I do honestly get it. It’s nearly 2 million years old and the only whale shit fossil of it’s kind ever to be discovered on planet Earth. But to be honest, if I ever found it I would have probably stupidly spray painted the thing (like I do everything), used it as a bedroom door stop or attached one of my weird CaptCliff peace pipes to it with super-glue and velcro (see photo above). I guess it’s lucky I didn’t find it. On the other hand, I respect it’s rarity, like a unusual meteorite or a nail clipping from a Neanderthal. The only difference is the revolting visual imagery this ancient ambergris evokes. I DARE authorities to put “it” in an Italian museum and bring a busload of schoolchildren, regardless of their country of origin to see it and then be told exactly where it came from. If those kids dont erupt in innocent laughter and gesticulate using the international childhood sign for, “Ewww…gross!”, I will eat my……you-know-what. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, apparently “regular” whale poop has an enticing “musky scent” that makes it extremely valuable and highly sought after by people in the perfume business. Dont worry, you wont find me trying to sneak a quarter-ounce plastic bag of the stuff back through Customs on my next trip to Italy or Belize. European Viagra or aromatic white truffles from Umbria maybe, but whale poop…not a frickin’ chance. Lastly, I just learned from my Antarctica shlepping brother Neal that there might be something even worse smelling than whale shit. It’s whale breath and it’s called “sparg”.
When I say dont scoff I really mean it. Some punk kid in the U.K. just found a hunk of this whale scat on the beach and its estimated worth is 63K!