Well, in one of the great let-downs of our time, the whale isn’t going to explode. If you don’t know which particular whale I’m referring to, check out www.hasthewhaleexplodedyet.com, for all your up-to-the-minute whale explosion needs.
The 81-foot animal in question washed up on the shores of Newfoundland a few weeks ago, and since then has grown to become Canada’s second-biggest media export of the decade — the first being Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford.
Still, there’s more to this story than a world’s morbid fascination with a bloated animal carcass. We marvel at this amazing natural process, not unlike how savages might have gawked at an eclipse; it’s spectacular, and a bit scary, and very, very strange. After all, human beings don’t generally explode upon death. Do they?
When a blubber-bag like a whale is left out, it slowly inflates with the gasses of decomposition, mostly carbon dioxide, methane, and the distinctively smelling sulfur-based gasses associated with death. Without an outlet, they will basically create one themselves, by ripping a hole in the side of the whale. When this happens, you don’t want to be nearby — whale carcasses have been known to expel internal organs up to 30 feet or more.
In this case, a small-enough outlet must have developed to allow slow release of the gasses; Whaley the Whale seems to be slowly deflating, and danger of an explosion has faded.
The town ought to be fine, so long as they don’t put any dynamite inside it — and while that might sound far-fetched, check out the most famous exploding whale video of all. This town cheated, manufacturing an exploding whale from one of the regular, non-exploding variety, but they paid what seems to be a fair price in exchange.