Pet Peeves


Dale the Whale

by Mark D. Crantz
by Mark D. Crantz

I learned a lot of stuff from the Indy’s “High Seas Adventure Awakens Ocean Awareness.” I did not know that the ocean is responsible for my every other breath. It explains why I always feel light headed. And to think I fell hook, line and sinker on my doctor’s diagnosis that attributed my dizziness to many years of smoking. Now that I know the condition is due to an unhealthy ocean that can’t give me all my breaths, I’ve taken up smoking again. Got a light?

As a kid, I dreamed of becoming an oceanographer. I wanted to save the ocean. Two things held me back. I was afraid of water. And I had an awful case of swimmer’s ear. The medical establishment is baffled by my condition. Leading physician experts in the collection of copays and deductibles can’t figure out how I have swimmer’s ear and never go near the water. Count your lucky starfish that you don’t have it. A swimmer’s ear is just like having a whale’s pectoral fin. It flaps to get locomotion. When I tried swimming, I didn’t take to water like a fish. I just kept going in circles. On dry land it’s not much better. People think I’m waving. It is way too many hellos and goodbyes for one guy to deal with.

Whales are magnificent creatures. Last year’s Ocean Awareness attendees almost got an up close personal experience on their whale watching excursion. There were two humped back whales, cow and calf, spouting starboard. I don’t know which way starboard is and nobody blames the 11 attendees who missed the action. First wrong way looking attendee said, “That’s not a whale. It’s a seagull.” Second wrong way looking attendee, “Baby whales look like seagulls.” First wrong way looking attendee asks, “What do baby seagulls look like?” Second wrong way looking attendee answers, “Baby whales of course.”

The captain, who knew starboard from port, got to see the mother whale in all her glory. Several times the 30-ton whale (before Jenny Craig) soared out of the water sideways, with one long pectoral fin pointing skywards. She repeated this spinner breach a half dozen times before the captain realized the whale was pointing to a plane pulling a sign that read, “Support Paris Climate Accord. Dump Trump.”

But the show was far from over. “The whale shot up in full breach with her rostrum arching back mightily, 15 feet of pectoral wings stretched out of her sides, flooding rivulets of water rushed off her fluted underbelly and then the rorqual’s thunderous splash-down.” Wow? What’s a rorqual? I looked it up.   It’s a seagull belly flop.

The closest I’ve come to a whale was in a business meeting with Pacific Life Insurance Company of Newport Beach. Their commercials show a magnificent breaching whale. So, to break the ice, my associate asked the Pacific Life representative, if the whale had a name? She said no. My associate suggested Dale the Whale. His icebreaker ended the meeting and we were shown aft. That’s the way aft holes have to go.


Crantz tells the Indy that a Farmer’s Insurance meeting did not go much better when my associate asked to meet the farmer’s daughter. It’s hard to believe we’re still in business.  

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