An Open Letter to Salt Lake City From The Whale

Stephen Kesler’s Out of the Blue, also known as the “9th and 9th Whale,” sparked passionate debate among residents of the 9th and 9th neighborhood. Here, editor Jeremy Pugh imagines a satirical letter from the whale’s perspective. Read more about the origins of this sculpture.

Whale Hello!

First off, I did not ask to be here. I’m a whale, a leviathan, a lord of the sea. But here I am beached, with all you apes complaining about me. Let me get this straight. Somebody asks some artist if he has any good ideas for a sculpture and he’s like, “Umm. How about a whale?” And they’re like, “Yeah, that makes no sense, but it’ll get people talking.” 

Well, it DID get people talking, specifically, all the jerks on Nextdoor, which I can hear because I have ears tuned to hear my mate’s call from 1,000 leagues away. As the subject of the ongoing ridicule all I can say is, “Yeah, I get it. I’m a whale stuck in a traffic circle in Utah.” I should be laying down tracks of my haunting whale songs for Leonard Nimoy (RIP). 

Plus, you guys know that we only jump up out of the ocean—“breach” as you apes call it—when we are irritated or happy. Guess which one I am? I’m a humpback whale! One of the largest mammals—strike that—the largest animals in the world. Animals, like ALL the animals. That’s the whole animal kingdom, all of it. It’s me and the elephant in the top slots and I’m WAY bigger than a dusty, wrinkly elephant. Leonard Nimoy never recorded any elephants, ever. 

So here I am, in a permanently irritated breach blocking drivers’ sight lines. I guess we’re stuck with each other. Could one of you helpful folks push me back into the water where I belong? No. Not in that gross salty lake. You apes are always saying “Save the whales.” Well, save me! Honestly, I’d rather be running from harpoons and happy breaching for the Greenpeace guys. And trust me, I never thought I’d say that. 

The Whale

Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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