'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Monday, 24 October 2011

Sea Monkeys

When I was young my extended family, especially a strong-minded maiden aunt, would inquire about my reading habits. Their reactions to various responses ensured I learnt from an early age that the classics were heartily approved of. (I actually enjoyed them, and I think my vocabulary was certainly extended beyond most kids my age).
However comics were not really considered suitable.
But I had a draw-card: I was a sickly kid, thin and pale, and when especially ill they could be quite indulgent. I always asked for colouring-in books or comics. I generally received Disney cartoons and I still remember the day I met the best Disney character to my mind: The light-bulb friend of Gyro Gearloose.
But later illnesses turned up much more exciting heroes like Superman and Batman and... joy of joys: 'The Phantom'. When the bad guys had been caught and were in jail and being angry through close-ups of their gritted teeth, all that was left was to peruse the strange and wonderful adverts on the back pages. They were all from America of course, and that could have been on the moon to us in New Zealand, but the best things were the 'Sea-Monkeys'. Oh I so wanted a real sea-monkey for a pet, so I could play with it and train it, and it could be my friend!

9 comments:

  1. I think every kid in American wanted them, too!

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  2. How is it possible to be friends with a brine shrimp? Sorry to disillusion you but that's all they were - brine shrimps that looked nothing like monkeys.

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  3. *sob* Noooo Say it's not troooo! YP, you have destroyed my childhood dream!

    Just kidding. I learnt when I was ten. That's when I stopped believing that Superman could fly too, and started my decade of reading SciFi instead.

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  4. They seemed very alluring Bettyl!

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  5. And they never looked like the advertisements...

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  6. No! Robert, you mean there's not really a race of miniature smiling bi-pedal humanoids under the sea who wear bows in their hair and mascara and whose tails conveniently and modestly cover their private parts? Next you'll be telling me that Scrooge McDuck doesn't really swim in his money bins!

    The small print: 'Always clowning around, these frolicsome pets swim, stunt ("stunt"???) and play games with each other. Because they are so full of tricks, you'll never tire of watching them. And raising Sea-Monkeys is so easy, even a six-year-old can do so without help. Sea-Monkeys eat very little, and they keep their water so clean, they require only a minimum care although they LOVE attention. Anyone who enjoys the company of pets will ADORE Sea Monkeys. Best of all, we even show you how to teach them to obey your commands like a pack of friendly trained seals. What a way to surprise your guests.'

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  7. Lovely reminiscence! I wanted those sea-monkeys, too, The advertising made them sound so attractive.

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  8. Yes...I too hankered after Sea Monkeys.......

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