- "Apparently This Matters" is CNN Tech's weekly offbeat look at social-media trends
- This week, Jarrett breaks down a trending story about whale vomit
- It turns out, the stuff is used in perfume and is really valuable
- The finder wants to build an animal house. It may be like "Jersey Shore"
Without question, the most valuable thing I've ever just found was probably a stray $20 bill. And that makes sense. People don't randomly misplace their Fabergé eggs in the parking lot of a Denny's.
Cracker Barrel, maybe. It's classy up in that joint.
That said, I'd like to think that perhaps one day I'll accidentally trip over some insanely valuable hidden treasure in my own backyard that poked through the earth after a heavy summer rain. But the sad truth is that if I stumble past anything out there, it's likely going to be a cartoonishly large pile of dog poop. Which is worth nothing.
To date, my Great Dane hasn't eaten any Google stock.
Thus, until that glorious moment occurs, it seems my best bet for getting rich quick is to simply wander the beaches of Dorset, England, and hope that I happen upon a huge chunk of whale puke. Seriously, whale puke.
You see, a popular trending story this week was about an 8-year-old British schoolboy who found a 600-gram mass of it in the sand that seems to be worth about £40,000. For those of you keeping score in America, that's 1.3 real pounds of hardened hurl valued at $63,000. By comparison, a decent Lexus starts at half that and probably wasn't yakked up by a sperm whale coming home from an all-night bender.
"Dude, I was a complete mess. Allen kept pouring shots down my blowhole."
So why, then, is a giant glob of whale barf worth more than a luxury car? Well, according to the Bournemouth Daily Echo, what the boy found is actually called ambergris, and it's a highly sought-after fixative to prolong the scent of perfume.
"Pardon me, I couldn't help but notice you smell like whale spew. Is that Calvin Klein?"
These days, manufacturers mostly use synthetics. Clearly, the real stuff is hard to find, and the whales just don't party like they used to. (Though, deep sea crime statistics show 'ludes are making a comeback.)
Still, there's high demand for actual ambergris, and young Charlie Naysmith is holding on to the mother lode. Even more amazing is the fact that his golden glob of whale heave may have been floating around the sea for decades. After all those years, it literally could've landed anywhere, but it landed right at his very feet.
It's just like the old saying: Sometimes, you don't find the whale vomit; the whale vomit finds you.
I think that was Whitman.
So, now the lucky boy has to figure out what to do with his newfound treasure. As if selling it isn't the one and only option. However, his dad, Alex, says that at the moment, they're just waiting for more information from marine biologists.
While I appreciate their shared interest in science, I really can't stress this enough: SELL IT NOW! IT'S WHALE THROW-UP!
Look, I'm all for learning, but if you happen to be holding a projectile from the belly of another living thing and somebody wants to give you money for it, you don't ask questions. You ask for cash. And some Purell.
The conversation should be rather straightforward: "Yes. I. Will. Sell. You. This."
Fortunately, the boy does plan to eventually make a profit from his discovery, and he couldn't be sweeter about how he wants to spend it: He'd like to build a house for animals. Though, the article didn't specify whether the word "house" refers to some large sprawling ranch or, perhaps, an English Tudor where gorillas and bears and whatever else can run around humping and fighting and breaking things.
Think Noah's Ark meets "Jersey Shore."
"Please do not feed the Snooki."
Anyway, if you plan to go out searching for whale retch, be prepared to have a bad time. The boy got lucky. You probably won't. And besides, there's plenty of other good stuff from the ocean floor washing up on the beach.
Apparently 'ludes are making a comeback.