Something's Fishy at the Atlanta Aquarium

By JL Strickland

January 18, 2007

Just when you think things are as bad as they can get, something comes along even worse. And I'm not talking about the economy. That's just money.

No, there is more grievous news from the Atlanta Aquarium. The flowers are still fresh on Gasper the Beloved Beluga Whale's grave, and now Ralph the Beloved Whale Shark has kicked the beloved fish bucket, too.

How much more sorrow can fish fans bear? And where do the folks at the Georgia Aquarium buy their animals anyway, Wal-Mart? The big, fancy aquarium is having the same luck with their fish that I do with the ones I buy at discount.

The Atlanta newspaper was so thunder-struck by Beloved Ralph's sudden demise that they sent a "breaking news" alert to my email box. It upset me so bad I could not finish eating my tuna sandwich. Not even the pickle.

Ralph's passing raised another serious question: How many pallbearers does it take to carry a dead 22-foot whale shark?

According to the reports, 20 scientists are conducting an autopsy on Ralph. An aquarium spokesperson said preliminary findings indicate Ralph may have died from dehydration.

Baloney! Do they seriously expect us to believe Ralph died from dehydration? How the heck could a critter who lives in a 55-million gallon tank of water possibly be dehydrated? Did anybody consider that maybe Ralph drowned!

Hopefully, it's not some kind of whale flu going around that nobody's picked up on yet. How big would the needle be for a whale flu shot?

An unnamed source said that Ralph had been acting funny since undergoing a prostate exam last week. According to the witness, Ralph was so startled by the proctoscope he jumped slap out of the tank and bumped his noggin on one of the massive steel roof beams.

Been there, done that!

Could it be that Gasper and Ralph were more than friends, if you get my drift? Could it be that Ralph died of a broken heart from grieving the loss of his tank-mate Gasper? Do whales get aids?

They would never admit this, even if it were the case. They would lie to protect Gasper and Ralph's beloved reputations, like they did with Rock Hudson and Gomer Pyle.

Ralph the Beloved Whale Shark was named after Ralph Cramden, the macho, overbearing bus driver Jackie Gleason played on television. Maybe Ralph should have been named "Liberace."

Whatever the nature of Ralph and Gasper's relationship, it was their private business. We should honor the Georgia Aquarium's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Even whales need love.

My main concern now is what did they do with the remains of these huge sea creatures? I don't know about you, but for the next little bit, I'm steering clear of the-catch-of-the-day at Red Lobster. makes it easier for you to:

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