When I was a little kid I was obsessed with Sea Monkeys. For an entire summer I begged for them, praying to have a Sea Monkey family of my own, as seen on the advertisement, thriving on my very own kitchen counter. Finally, my mother relented and I mailed off my money plus shipping and handling. Several weeks later my Sea Monkeys kit came in the mail. I was overjoyed as I delicately placed the instructions, the specially designed Sea Monkey plastic home for viewing and the three packets, labeled 1-2-3, that would bring my family to life. I couldn’t wait to watch them play ball, eat dinner dinner together and swim laps around their perfect little home. Unfortunately, that never happened.
I mixed the solution in the water and waited for my instant family to appear, but that didn’t happen. Days went by and nothing happened except that the water got cloudier and the small, plastic tank started to stink. My mother, who forever enabled my imagination and adventures, encouraged me to wait a little longer, although I noticed she started pushing the tank farther and father away from where she cooked our meals.
Two weeks later and still no Sea Monkeys. I’d sit and watch the tank for long periods of time, imagining that at any moment the would poke their heads out from a little plastic Sea Monkey castle in the middle of the tank. That didn’t happen. A month went by and the only thing that happened was that the water turned murky brown, the tank stunk horribly and my mother told me I had to flush the water and throw away my Sea Monkeys dream home.
Even though I was horrified, I carried the tank to the bathroom and flushed the remains down the toilet. Knowing me, I probably said some words of condolences to the now deceased Sea Monkey family, that I had never known. Being that I’ve always suffered from severe, un-diagnosed ADHD, I instantly ran back into the kitchen, forgetting the last dream home and asked my mom if I could get a new Sea Monkey kit with an even better dream home. In this one, which cost $19.99 plus shipping and handling, there was an entire Sea Monkey city, including movie theater, apartments and a shopping mall. I was sure that my family, and many others, would survive this time and they would relish living in their new home. The reason the first family hadn’t survived was because they had a pitiful home that no one would ever want to live. My mother smiled, I found my money in my secret hiding spot and we sent off for a better and bigger Sea Monkey world.
But when the Sea Monkey world arrived, the same thing happened; nothing! Just murky water and an even more torrid stench than before. I couldn’t see anything swimming to go see movies or join each other for dinners or go shopping at the mall on Friday nights. That was at about the same time that frustrated, I grabbed the instructions and began reading the fine print, thinking that I must be doing something wrong. What I found angered me beyond belief. Sea Monkeys were not in fact Sea Monkeys…they were extremely small shrimp. I had been sold a bunch of crap. The whole thing was a jip!
My mother consoled me as we took the Sea Monkey city, her nose held high above the stench, and pitched it into the trash. Never again would I be spending any of my hard earned money on Sea Monkey apartments, beaches, cities or cruise ships. I had been fooled and it felt horrible.
Looking back, I’m not really sure why I wanted them so bad. Their pictures are pretty scary so I’m not sure they would have made the best friends. I think it was the idea of having a whole world at my fingertips to watch and observe; me playing God to a world of unsuspecting beings who loved nothing more than to shop, watch movies and relax lazily on the beach. I could totally relate.
Lots of therapy could probably unearth what those Sea Monkey dreams were all about, but to me, they were just as simple as having an overstimulated imagination in just about everything and a sincere, innocent hope in all things good and true; the most perfect world possible. Those are two truths are still hold dear today. Even as I’m writing this I’m wondering if maybe this time, my Sea Monkey world would work and my dog Boo Radley and I could watch them for hours as they held hands in their Sea Monkey world and lived happily ever after. Maybe. But one thing is for certain; I’ll never give up that childhood innocence. It is the reason why I love adventure shows and believe in the possibility of aliens, fairies and the loch ness monster. I don’t want my world closed in and made smaller by disbelief. I want to believe…forever.
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