Atlanta's 11 Least Influential People: No. 8

Creative Loafing’s countdown of Atlanta’s 11 Least Influential People is a tribute to women, men and fish everywhere struggling to meet the challenges of life in a modern American city.

The top five will be revealed in the next print edition of Creative Loafing, which hits newsstands on Thursday, Nov. 8.

No. 8 — Taroko and Yushan

Bottled for our amusement

(photo by Joeff Davis)

Taiwan’s government will soon ban the export of whale sharks, the world’s largest fish.“Thanks for nothing, jerks,” says Taroko. “And this helps me how?”

Taroko is upset because he, along with fellow whale shark Yushan, was sold by Taiwan to the Georgia Aquarium in June — after the export ban was announced but before it took effect.

The pair replaced the aquarium's original whale shark duo, Ralph and Norton, both of whom died this year after less than two years in the aquarium's captivity.

“Last year, everything was copacetic. I was freestylin’ in the Philippine Sea and inhaling fresh mackerel like a fat guy at Red Lobster," Taroko says. "Now I do laps in a glass box waiting to die."

"Hey, Bernie Marcus," he says, addressing the Georgia Aquarium's founder and benefactor, "what did I ever do to you?"

Yushan is no less frustrated at the turn his life has taken.

“It's not healthy for us to be in captivity," Yushan says. "My only hope is that the aquarium learned from the mistakes that killed Ralph and Norton."

"Ask around. Aquariums just aren't very healthy for large sea creatures like Yushan and me," Taroko says. "Back in the day, I could dive 3,000 feet down into the ocean just for fun. If I tried that now, I'd bruise my head on a third grader from Lawrenceville."

Both fish say they're resigned to their fate. They know they're never going to swim in the ocean again.

Their only request in their final months, they say, is for people to stop telling them how great it is to be in the Georgia Aquarium.

"Bernie Marcus compared the aquarium to the Ritz-Carlton," Taroko says. "I've never stayed there, but I'm pretty sure the Ritz doesn't use nets to find room guests."

"They keep telling me how lucky I am that I live in a 6 million gallon aquarium,” Yushan interjects. “Hey, dickheads, I used to live in a 177 sextillion gallon aquarium. It’s called the Pacific Ocean."

Visit Fresh Loaf on Tuesday morning for No. 7 on our countdown of Atlanta’s 11 Least Influential People.

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