Su Lum: Those dreadful Sea-Monkeysr
April 2, 2003
I can’t believe that it was just a month ago that I wrote somewhat enthusiastically about the “Amazing Sea-Monkeys” we’re raising in Jenna Weatherred’s office. It seems more like a year ago that we misguidedly filled the little plastic tank and added the “Instant Life” packet.
“Now your `MAGICAL MOMENT’ is about to begin,” chimed the official Sea-Monkey handbook. “You will now bring Sea-Monkeys to life in a `flash,’ and absolutely ASTOUND anyone who may be watching!”
For the first week, we were all quite astounded as tiny sperm-shaped things began wriggling in the water. The water had to be sloshed back and forth from their little tank into a pitcher every day, a tricky maneuver, and if we spilled a splash we’d have to look at it with a magnifying glass to see if any Sea-Monkeys were floundering in it.
“Has anyone sloshed the babies yet?” we’d cry
cheerfully every morning, exclaiming over their growth when we could see them swimming with the naked eye. Surely it would only be a matter of days before they grew their human arms and
hair ribbons as depicted on the cover of the handbook.
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I ignored Curt and Cindy Carpenter’s condolences on reading that we had been caught up in the Sea-Monkey trap, a trip they had endured several times with their kids, but they were right. Now sloshing is a dull routine, with barely a passing glance to see if anyone was left stuck to the pitcher or lost in a spill, and ask, “Isn’t it about time we flushed these mothers down the toilet?”
The Sea-Monkeys have apparently reached their full growth, which is less than half an inch; they are translucent, with thin black intestinal tracts and what appear to be tiny black eyes. We don’t know if they’re eating each other, dying, or lost in sloshes but there are far fewer than we started out with.
We aren’t even enthused anymore about the accouterments we ordered, the “Electric Ocean-Zoo Showboat” aquarium that “turns into an exciting SEA-SHOW” ($7) or the “Million-bubble air pump” ($3). I’m sure it said “allow six years for delivery” somewhere in microscopic print, and we can’t wait that long.
Sea-Monkeys are, in a word, boring. They just wiggle around and crap up the bottom of the tank. And not a hair ribbon in sight. Pet slugs would be more entertaining, and they are definitely too dull and labor intensive to hold the interest of children.
But could we execute them?
I came across an article in a newspaper that said an escaped flamingo was living on the Great Salt Lake. Locals call him Floyd (as in Pink Floyd), and there’s a movement afoot to bring in other flamingos to keep him company, causing a backlash outcry that this could be an ecological disaster because flamingos are not indigenous to the area.
The pertinent part of the article was the mention that Floyd is healthy because he eats brine shrimp. “Brine shrimp are all that can live in the lake because of its extreme salinity,” it said. Brine shrimp are Sea-Monkeys! Hey, Floyd – we’ve got something for you.
[Su Lum is a longtime local who wonders if we should have been adding salt to the water. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]
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