July 12, 2017

Canadian man killed by the whale he saved.

"They got the whale totally disentangled and then some kind of freak thing happened and the whale made a big flip.... This is something he loved and there's no better feeling than getting a whale untangled, and I know how good he was feeling after cutting that whale clear."

That's one for the (grossly overinflated) annals of Died Doing What He Loved. I say grossly overinflated for reasons you can easily see at that last link, which goes to a Google News search for that phrase. It includes, to give the most vivid example, a worker who died using a water-blaster to clean out the slag in a tank at a power plant.

The phrase also appears in a context you probably already know: "Pompeii Victim Apparently Died Doing What He Loved." It's grisly humor, and I was going to say that after 2000+ years, people retain no connection, no empathy, but millions of people experience genuine empathy contemplating the crucifixion of Jesus, and I remember when I first saw the casts of the victims at Pompeii and felt real empathy.

I took a moment to reflect among the remains of Pompeii. Here's a photograph from my mental journey:

pompeii 6

35 comments:

AllenS said...

There are a lot of jobs that are risky. Most being the blue collar type.

johns said...

Grossly inflated, not overinflated.

Big Mike said...

There are a lot of jobs that are risky. Most being the blue collar type.

And done pretty exclusively by men.

James K said...

"Died doing what he loved." Does Nelson Rockefeller qualify?

Big Mike said...

The man wasn't killed by a killer whale (orca). He was killed by a North Atlantic right whale, which is a very endangered species. There are plenty of YouTube videos of whale rescues, and usually they end with the rescued whale demonstrating a degree of exuberance. The man got unlucky.

bagoh20 said...

Pompeii? Really? Isn't it a little too soon? Have some respect for the departed. You could at least wait until the volcano is cold.

gspencer said...

Even for whales, no good deed goes unpunished.

bagoh20 said...

I think it's safe to say nobody loves wheezing on a respirator with tubes stuck in ya.

Take a risk today, but do it with love.

bagoh20 said...

There has got be at least a few cases of rescuers being killed by a person they just revived with CPR.

Ann Althouse said...

"The man wasn't killed by a killer whale (orca). He was killed by a North Atlantic right whale, which is a very endangered species."

Oh, thank you. I've deleted the word "killer" in the post title. I was under the impression I saw the word in one of the pieces I'd read before finding this article.

James K said...

One of the big things they teach in lifeguard training is self-defense. Lots of people have drowned getting overwhelmed by the people they are trying to save.

EDH said...

"Save the whale, George, for me."

George: So I started to walk into the water. I won't lie to you, boys, I was terrified! But I pressed on - and as I made my way past the breakers, a strange calm came over me. I don't know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things, but I tell you, Jerry, at that moment - I was a Marine Biologist! ...

The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli! I got about fifty feet out and suddenly, the great beast appeared before me. I tell ya, he was ten stories high if he was a foot. As if sensing my presence, he let out a great bellow. I said, "Easy big fella!" And then, as I watched him struggling, I realized that something was obstructing its breathing. From where I was standing I could see directly into the eye of the great fish!

Jerry: Mammal.

George: Whatever.

Drago said...

The last thing you should ever expect from whales and the French is gratitude.

The Godfather said...

I wouldn't give any credence at all to the Pompeii jack-off story, except that I've seen photos of the pornographic pictures these folks had painted on their walls. On the one hand (sorry, I didn't mean it that way) you could be a moralist and say the corrupt, sinful bastards had it coming, or you could say, Hey! if the timing was right, he might not even have noticed the volcano. Maybe that's where Hemmingway got the idea for "the earth moved" in For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Fabi said...

Titleist?

Unknown said...

> Hey! if the timing was right, he might not even have noticed the volcano.

There's a similar memorable scene in Fritz Leiber's 1964 Hugo winner: _The Wanderer_.

For heavens' sakes though, if you're going to check out Leiber, don't read that one, read "Ill Met In Lankhmar (amazon

mockturtle said...

Maybe it was a Blue Whale.

AllenS said...

Maybe it was a Socialist Whale.

Big Mike said...

I don't imagine that the guy from Pompeei much cares how his arms ended up when he cooked to death in the heat of a pyroclastic flow, but I rather doubt he was doing what the dirty-minded among us think he was doing. He died, and his arm relaxed, and the hand on a man's relaxed arm normally falls somewhere between his groin and the side of his thigh.

I've always felt empathy for the dead of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It must have been a terrifying way to die, but the evidence of the skeletons unearthed suggests that the pyroclastic surge that hit Herculaneum must have reached a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, or higher. Some years ago I read the account of the opening of what had been a boat shed used by refugees as a shelter in the harbor at Herculaneum. Among the skeletons were a young girl holding a baby. The baby's sister? A nanny? A household slave? They died together, the one trying to comfort the other.

Chris N said...

A whale of a day!

Clyde said...

The Godfather said...
I wouldn't give any credence at all to the Pompeii jack-off story, except that I've seen photos of the pornographic pictures these folks had painted on their walls.


Some of those pornographic pictures were painted on the walls of brothels, showing the girl's specialty. The beds were made of stone and had stone pillows at the head. I know, because I visited Pompeii in person thirty years ago and saw the inside of the brothel for myself. There also were phallic paving stones on the sidewalks pointing the way to the brothels.

When I went in the Army, I went from Kansas City (which was then about 150 years old) to the east coast. When I visited Boston, it seemed really old. Then I went to Europe, and was stationed in Augsburg, a two-thousand-year old city and that seemed REALLY old. And then I visited Rome and Pompeii... I always find it fascinating to look at really old things and wonder about the people who made them. I recently took a trip to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota and looked at all the medieval and Renaissance art works, including antique furniture and jewelry, and there I was reaching across the gulf of centuries, wondering about the people who wore those rings and necklaces, ate at that trestle table or slept under that ornate headboard. They are gone, but their belongings remain several hundred years later. I wonder if they could have imagined such a thing.

CWJ said...

I'll never forget the 1976 tour of Tutankhamun artifacts at the Field Museum. A father and son were viewing a camp chair when all of a sudden the kid blurts out "What's so great about this!" Without missing a beat, the Dad says "It's 3000 years old. The stuff in our house doesn't last 3 months."

eddie willers said...

When I visited Boston, it seemed really old.

I was kind of shocked to learn that Paul McCartney met John Lennon at a fait celebrating the 750th anniversary of King John granting the Royal Charter for Liverpool.

As Diana Gabaldon pointed out: "To an American, a hundred years is a long time. To an Englishman, a hundred miles is a long way."

William said...

Well, it's a killer whale now, whatever its species. But let it go. Don't spend the rest of your life tracking it down and making it pay. Let this end today.

Snark said...

"Pompeii? Really? Isn't it a little too soon? Have some respect for the departed. You could at least wait until the volcano is cold."

LOL

Michael K said...

I can't believe that nobody has mentioned the reason why Campobello Island got famous.

"Sunrise at Campobello."

Snark said...

Well the whale obviously wasn't Canadian.

madAsHell said...

Sooooo......I'm going to stroke out while I'm stroking out. Good to know!!

mockturtle said...

As Diana Gabaldon pointed out: "To an American, a hundred years is a long time. To an Englishman, a hundred miles is a long way."

So true! A friend we had met in the UK came to the US with his GF and rented a car to 'see America'. He was truly astonished at how far it was between, say, Seattle and the Grand Canyon [not to mention the Lincoln Memorial}]. A well-educated scientist, he wasn't totally ignorant of geography but the idea of driving so far between 'sights' just floored him.

Rusty said...

This is what is known as 'irony'. it is the basis of comedy.
Along with monkeys.

William said...

If there's one thing I've learned from my study of literature, it's never to nurse a grudge against a whale.

Clyde said...

I went looking for that broken-off Delaware-sized Antarctic iceberg on Google Maps. I think I found it, but it looked like there was a lot of other ice between it and the open water. Is it really going to float away? Then I scrolled north to the world's southernmost town, Ushuaia on the Tierra del Fuego peninsula. It wasn't as bleak as I thought it would be. The ends of the earth, indeed!

whswhs said...

I've seen those casts, at a museum in San Diego. They were utterly appalling, particularly the man reaching out his hand to the woman (perhaps his wife) and the tied up dog (not that being untied would have saved it!).

openidname said...

"Tags: death, empathy, Google grab, irony, Jesus, masturbation, whales"

Best tags ever.

Anthony said...

>> I remember when I first saw the casts of the victims at Pompeii and felt real empathy.

Indeed. I have only seen them* at a traveling exhibit, but even the photographs are very sobering. Probably because they are not at all posed; we see them as they were in their final moments. Fortunately, though they were probably terrified for several hours, the end was nearly instantaneous for the vast majority.

* They didn't send the real casts, but casts of the casts. One or two of them might have been originals (although what difference (at this point) does it make.