BY PETER DORFMAN
Now the story can be told. Dwight Worker—organic farmer, former Indiana University business professor, raconteur, globetrotter, former drug smuggler, inmate and escapee from a notorious Mexican prison, and international provocateur—really did sink a Norwegian whaling ship in 1992. He still has the indictment letter from Norwegian prosecutors for the crime.
Worker writes picaresque memoirs from a farm off Vernal Pike, west of Bloomington. He’s been evasive about the whaling ship episode in the past, but now the cat’s out of the bag. “To Sink a Whaling Ship” is the final chapter of Worker’s latest book, All Over the Place, the third in a series of reminiscences and confessions (Feral World Press, 2017). The former Sea Shepherd Conservation Society anti-whaling activist describes in vivid detail his successful scuttling of the Nybraena in the frigid Arctic harbor of Steine, Norway.
“I would never have published that story while my mother was alive,” Worker, 71, explains. “Anyway, the statute of limitations has run out.”
That’s not to say that Worker has been holding out on readers with delicate sensibilities. His first book, Escape from Lecumberri (self-published in 1978 and republished in 2012), describes his escape from the Mexican lock-up where he was imprisoned for cocaine-smuggling. It was co-authored by Barbara Wilde, the woman who engineered his escape and whom he later married. The escapade became a 1980 made-for-TV movie. “Only two people have ever escaped from Lecumberri—Pancho Villa and me,” Worker asserts.
Like his second book, The Wild Years (2013), All Over the Place is a collection focusing on Worker’s travels, turning points, and troubles. The stories are profane (consider yourself warned), usually funny, and always just on the outer edge of probability. He takes his readers to South America, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and beyond, always traveling light and on the cheap in search of outlandish experiences.
“My philosophy is live a cool life and write about it,” Worker says. “If the book fails, as most books do, at least you’ve lived a cool life.” Worker insists these stories are all true, although he allows that “there might be a little ‘magical realism’ in some of them.”
Worker’s paperbacks are all available at Amazon.