I went to see the dead gray whale washed up on Ocean Beach today. It's funny that the beach in San Francisco is called Ocean Beach until a gray whale washes up on it, dead. I took the bus to the beach and on the way we passed a wedding or a funeral. Mondays are for funerals but tuxedos are for weddings. I got off the bus at Great Highway and had a ways to walk. Ocean Beach is the perfect place for a highway; we put highways along all our greatest beaches. The sand from Ocean Beach drifts unchecked and I stood on a small dune and pressed the walk signal with my foot like you do in the public toilet. I don't know why the ravens out at the beach look so ratty. The mixed flock of sandpipers and whimbrels looked pretty good. I saw four dead seabirds before I even got within sight of the crowd at the whale. I saw many dead crabs and sand dollars and it made me feel good to assume they were all cracked and eaten by the sandpipers. By the time I could see the whale and her attendants I could also see the Cliff House behind them and an unsettled feeling that I was going to perform dead whale tourism coalesced in my binoculars hand. I joined the other lookers: dogwalkers of course; a mother teaching her son, both touching the gray whale's flank; a photographer from one of our dying newspapers, pants wet to the knee; some guys I wouldn't normally judge but couldn't help myself today. One man climbed on top of the whale. He crouched down and stuck his finger in a wound. A woman came from behind me yelling at him to get off the whale because in mounting it he interfered with science. I supposed the perfectly square hole in her flesh was the science. He said he was doing science too, and I guess he was if you count climbing onto a dead body for the hell of it. I would rather have seen baleen any other way. I had a new experience today: I thought "I could harpoon a man if I had to."