Everyone go away: From the desk of a 400-year-old Greenland shark

Hi. Shark here. I wasn’t planning on writing this — god knows no one asked me to — but it would seem I’ve become something of an overnight sensation. “Internet famous,” as my great-great-grandsharkchildren would say.

I have to admit, the fame comes as a surprise. I’ve lived a long time, yes, but my life hasn’t been particularly interesting. I’m not memorably large, like Whale Shark, or fast, like Mako Shark. I don’t glow in the dark like Ninja Lanternshark. I haven’t starred in blockbuster movies or met Blake Lively like Great White. I’ve certainly never been swept up in a tornado. At the risk of being too forthright: I didn’t even have sex until I was 173.

I’ve never given much thought to my life experience—never considered a novel, or a memoir, or even a podcast (so popular with whales). I haven’t been a notably political or activist shark — other than a brief flirtation with protest in the 1940s, when you were decimating us to make WW2 machine oil. Truth be told, there are only a few things I care about.

Peace and quiet, for one. When I was a pup, it was pure serenity out here — now a shark can’t even go for a stroll without being kidnapped by a research boat. And for what? So humans could turn my age into a headline? I don’t begrudge your race its scientific curiosity, but surely these things can be handled with a bit more dignity. Given her druthers, a lady prefers to be discreet.

The garbage situation is likewise beyond reason. Do tell me the difference between fish defecating in the water they swim in and humans shitting all over every natural resources they’ve gotten their hands on. If I have to swim past one more soggy diaper, discarded pool toy or plastic grocery bag, well, I don’t know what. I’m not usually one for violence, but did Gandhi ever have a toilet seat stuck on his tail fin for 34 days?

Anyway. For the most part, I’m not one to make waves. While I’m tickled at the recognition (and can’t say I’m displeased to take the oldest vertebrate title from that dick Bowhead) I don’t want to be treated like some modern marvel simply because I’ve managed to continue existing.

So please, take the spotlight off me — literally, turn that boat’s spotlight off. I’ll be 403 next year, and the last thing I want is a bunch of commotion, with the local news cameras and the simpering presentation of some cake I’ll finish in less than a bite. I don’t want to answer questions about how I feel and what I’ve learned, or what foods are responsible for my longevity. You want to know my advice for future generations? Avoid boats, avoid toilet seats, and eat everything.