Professor Rufus Racket of Harvard University spent the COVID-19 pandemic pursuing a unique passion project: habitating in the stomach of a 100,000lb sperm whale named Herb. Racket ate, slept, and played croquet in Herb for a full month, a choice he claims was inspired by The Revenant

“If Leo can win an Oscar for sleeping in an animal for one night, I should definitely be able to swing a Nobel Prize,” said the eccentric biologist in an exclusive interview with National Geographic. (Editor’s note: there is no Nobel Prize in biology.)

Dr. Racket took copious notes chronicling his aquatic experiences, which he is currently compiling with the intention of journal publication in late 2022. “The Department calls me ‘Barnacle Boy,’’ laughed Racket. “But joke’s on them—barnacles taste delicious!”

National Geographic also interviewed Department Head Stephen Prill, who stressed that, “Rufus received no funding, as this whole expedition was completely unnecessary. We understand whale biology—we’re not zoologists.”

When asked whether he may be having a midlife crisis, Dr. Racket replied, “You can’t have a midlife crisis if you’re always in crisis.”

 Racket maintains that his adventure with Herb was more than “science, or whatever.” Just prior to the expedition, his wife Marina sent him a DM that read: “Rufus, I’m leaving you for a geologist.” 

“She really changed the course of evolution with that one,” Racket said with an unconvincing laugh. “That’s first time a geologist has ever been the preferred choice of mate!”

Dr. Racket has purportedly purchased the sperm whale and is renting out its stomach as an AirBnb to finance the divorce proceedings. “What can I say, that’s life,” Racket said. “You trade one whale for another.”

—A. Buchholz