It would be too easy to write this off as your News of The Weird for the day. No way to dress this up, so I’ll simply let the Guardian tell you the tale of how a surfboarding Dick Van Dyke says he was saved at sea by a pod of friendly porpoises:
Van Dyke’s ordeal began during an ill-fated trip to his local beach. “I woke up out of sight of land,” the 84-year-old actor told reporters. “I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought ‘I’m dead!’”
Van Dyke was wrong. “They turned out to be porpoises,” he said. “And they pushed me all the way to shore.” The porpoises were unavailable for comment.
Fantastic! But let’s not stop there.
The incident immediately calls to mind one of my all-time favorite pieces of journo-crazy: Peggy Noonan claiming in April of 2000 on the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal that it was “a reasonable assumption” that God had dispatched an escort of dolphins like a “contingent of angels” to shepherd little Elian Gonzales through shark infested waters off the Florida coast.
I’ll admit that I was a skeptic when it came to Elian of the waves. But saving Rob Petrie? Saving Mary Poppins’s Bert? What else could account for it but the hand of God?
On Noonan’s behalf, I rest my case.Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.