When I was a kid, I went into an old used bookstore in the Strand District of Galveston Island. It was exactly what I thought a bookstore should be at the time, and, because I was nine, I immediately went to the comic book section. It’s funny, because I actually didn’t really care about comic books as a kid. What I did care about was horror movies, but I wasn’t allowed to rent them. So I would read my horror movies in comic book form. I would read the Alien comics (Labyrinth was really genius and gory) but this time I went for something totally random and picked up a comic about a family that went on vacation and got mauled by giant mutated lobsters. Pure crap, in retrospect, but I probably read it a hundred times.
Anyway, in the back of the comic was an advertisement that I am sure many readers will be familiar with. A small, naked, pink aquatic family waved happily from an order slip. “Enter The Wonderful World of AMAZING LIVE Sea Monkeys!”
I was enraptured, and the more I read about them the more I was intrigued. They never died! They played with little toys! They sprang to life instantly! I wanted to fill out the order form right away, but stopped. I was hesitant, and hated waiting for things in the mail. So, when I saw a Sea-Monkey kit in the stores a while later I pounced on it.
I remember the experience very well. The instructions said I needed to pour some water purifier in, then 24 hours later I could add the actual Sea-Monkeys. I was so excited, that 24 hour period is still one of the longest I can remember. I was scientist and pet owner now! When the time came I poured the sea monkey eggs in, stirred, and waited.
And then, I saw one.
Then two, then several, all fighting against the tiny current in the water resulting from the initial stir. I was ecstatic. Here were my own instant pets! I read the instruction book again and again, learning about how cool they were and how fun they would be to play with.
Now is the part where I am supposed to talk about how disappointed I was. How Sea-Monkeys are brine shrimp and how they are tiny and don’t look like the little people and how they are a big rip off and how even a pet rock would be more interactive.
But I didn’t, and don’t, feel that way. They didn’t look like the picture, true, but they were alive, and I thought the accessories were cool, and I liked the different set-pieces they advertised (especially the glowing pirate ship). I realized, even at the time, that they were a marketing “gimmick,” but I didn’t care, because when you are a kid you don’t care and things are better than what they are and you believe, not because someone told you to believe, but because you want to.
So this post isn’t me bitching about Sea-Monkeys, it’s me bitching about the people that bitch about Sea-Monkeys. And even more so, it’s about the people who would reveal everything and tear it down and stomp on it until its bloody and wounded because, at the core, it is not imbued with magical powers. And we know that. And kids know that.
But the truth is that the world is what you make it, because at our core we are not that special anyways. Every love we have can be broken down into a chemical reaction. Every action we take is based on an electric impulse. We can justify and break everything down until nothing means anything anymore.
Or, we can look at our Sea-Monkeys struggling in the current, and we can be pleased with what we have created.