Thursday, October 16

Negligent Homicide

Carpet is wet
with my mail-order friends.
Spilled entirely by accident.
Little brothers
are a hazard,
and cannot make amends.

*An add in a Marvel Comic book sealed my fate: I had Sea Monkey Fever. For about $1.75, one could mail away an exciting order for “Instant Life”; scientific magic crystals that when added to a special salt water solution, would brew tiny aquatic pets any kid would delight to own.

During the interminable 4 – 6 weeks waiting for delivery, I imagined the fun dancing and playing my very own Sea Monkeys would perform for my viewing pleasure. Based on the promotional illustrations, I knew they would all have smiling faces like so many teensy-weensy water babies.

After mixing my coveted crystals with the brine solution in a mason jar, it was almost a week before I could actually see my precious friends with the naked eye. I would lie on my stomach in front of our living room window for the longest time, gazing at the jar sitting on the carpet in front of my nose impatiently willing the Monkeys to grow. One afternoon I carelessly got up from my vigil to get a snack ~ and left my Sea Monkeys tragically vulnerable to toddler attack.

Sea Monkeys are a type of brine shrimp first marketed in 1957 by a true American gimmick master Harold von Braunhut as "Instant Life". He christened them "The Amazing Sea-Monkeys" on May 10, 1962. (Braunhut is also the inventor of x-ray glasses.) Sea Monkey adds were known for their exaggerated advertisements and packaging, which featured smiling anthropomorphic creatures alien to reality. Promotions appeared regularly in comic books throughout the 60’s and early 70’s.

*excerpt from 'Station Wagon Wars ~ growing up in the 60's' by cTanner


Bandanamom said...

Ahhh, sea monkeys! I used to beg and beg when I would see those ads in the comic books. When I finally talked my mom into it I was massively disappointed. I could never even see my sea monkeys.

Surprisingly, (or maybe not so surprisingly) Jordan told me she wanted to sea monkeys the other day - except now apparently they've got them at target and the new gimmick is that you can put the salt solution inside a container you wear on your wrist like a watch and take your sea monkeys with you. Portable sea monkeys. I should think they'd be equally disappointing is genius.

Yaj said...

I had both sea monkeys and X-ray glasses! They were both a bust...

CaliZona said...

Ha ha haaa ha!

Do you think any GIRL sent away for x-ray glasses?

Yaj said...

No know...

Probably only girls who wanted to be BOYS!