Tuesday, the Sun came out with a magnificent double page spread about dolphins. It included a ballot people can send in to vote on the issue of releasing the dolphins and a dolphin sea-side park. The poster-adds for the Sun, plastered all over Sydney, read: "Imagine a dolphin sea side park where you could play with the dolphins in the sea!" (click the thumbnails to enlarge)
Wednesday, the Sun came out with a second two-page spread and another ballot. Sue said they were getting swamped with mail bags full of ballots to free the dolphins. The entire Greek Community of Australia voted to support the freeing of the dolphins!
Today, Thursday, just as we are holding a Free the Dolphin rally on the shores of Sydney Harbor a pod of dolphins swim into Sydney Harbor in numbers not seen here for years.
The press goes wild. The Channel 7 News Helicopter is out there right now, filming them.
I watch the commotion on TV. Dolphins everywhere, gracefully playing before the famous Sydney Opera House with the people of Sydney watching from the air, from shore, from boats.
It truly is a phenomenon. An aging, grinning ferry captain says, "I ain't seen so many dolphins in the harbor in all my years. It's a blessing, it is."
"Do you think the Dolphins watch TV or read newspapers," the interviewer chuckles.
"Well, ya don't know, eh? Maybe they got some way of knowing we're all thinking about em, eh?"
I call Sue. She answers the phone with a flat hello.
"Hey, hey, hey! Since when does the Sun sell papers to dolphins?" I ask, "Do you think they'll be coming to my lecture tonight at the Australian Museum?"
"Oh, Hi Rick." Sue sounds gloomy.
"What are you up to?"
"Just sitting here staring at an enormous heap of mail bags. My Editor is making me open them since it's all addressed to me."
"I should think that would make you happy. What's wrong?"
"I just got a call from Nancy. It was a huge gush of verbal abuse and frankly it's...I don't.." She is close to tears.
"Sue? Is this really Sue the Iron Hearted Pussycat? What on Earth did Nancy say?"
"Oh she was pissed because of one line - "this is a one-man show." It was really unfair because I did try to interview Nancy and Angela but couldn't get together before press-time. If they wanted to be included in the articles they could have come to see me ahead of time."
"Listen, Sue, Nancy called me days ago, long before your article, and said she and Angela had withdrawn their energies from the project because of personality problems between Estelle and me. And Estelle told me the same thing last week. Other than sitting around talking to each other and having some friends sign petitions, what have they done you could write about?" Sue does not reply.
" Sue, you have personally spread 8 MILLION petitions around Sydney. Look at the mail bags again. That's what has come from your efforts. Of course other people participated in the project. Maybe it was a goof to call it a one-man-show, but there's no cause to abuse you. If the public wants a one-man-show and if the show sells, fine. Sell it that way. People would have to be astonishingly stupid not to realize a whole lot of people support any successful "one-man-show". Certainly Nancy and the others helped, what do they want? Their picture on page 1? Or the dolphins out of the swimming pool?"
"I tried to interview Tony Gregory at Project Jonah," Sue sounds a little more together, "but he refused to comment except to say you went about the whole thing all wrong and should have stuck to scientific issues."
"He wouldn't know the difference between a moral and a scientific issue if it bit him in the ass," I joke. Sue snickers.
Freddy and I take the Ferry downtown and walk over to the Australian Museum. About 200 people fill the small hall where I am going to speak. Freddy tells me they are turning people away at the door. I look out over the faces in the audience and they look back at me expectantly. The director introduces me and I'm on. I tell the stories of dolphins interacting with man in captivity and in the wild and try to keep the tone of the experiences adventuresome. I wind up with the description of the proposed dolphin sea-side park. I'm sure, everyone has read all about it in the paper today anyway.
After the presentation there is a cheese and wine gathering in the museum. Lots of people cluster around and ask polite questions. I overhear someone say, "I know. I feel the same way but regardless of that, I have to agree with him."
Regardless of what?