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Sea Monkeys: Happiness or Heartache?

By Heather Dyer

Sorry, but Sea Monkeys bring nothing but heartache and disappointment. This is a known fact.

If you’re of a certain age, you grew up seeing Sea Monkeys advertised on the back of every comic book imaginable.

Full color photos presented images of loving, big-bellied Sea Monkey families living a life of peace and happiness inside the home you – yes you – have made for them. I remember begging my mother to buy me my own little Sea Monkey village. I mean, how much fun would it be to see them frolicking all day?

The advertisements claim that you can train your Sea Monkey family to do tricks. Are you kidding me right now?  What kind of tricks? Do they hula hoop? Do they eat out of your hand? Will they help you find your skate key? Mom, pleeeeease, I have to have them!

My mother was (unfortunately for me) a science teacher, and she let me know that Sea Monkeys are not in fact magical pets that look like they live in Whoville and have wide smiles and webbed feet, but are actually a type of brine shrimp that are freeze-dried and then reconstituted in the treated water. I was sure she was wrong, but just like with everything else, she was right about this. DANG IT MOM.

I had friends who got their Sea Monkeys, though, and we watched these little critters with rapt attention for at least a minute or two as they swam around not doing very much to be honest. None of them were doing tricks. None of them seemed to be smiling. They were hard to see very well at all because they were so tiny. This was incredibly disappointing.

There was still an allure to Sea Monkeys even after having seen them live (although not for long, my friend’s Sea Monkeys didn’t have much life expectancy).  This is really a testament to the relentless marketing strategy for Sea Monkeys. You couldn’t get away from them. Comic books, cartoons, lunch boxes, you name it. It was a pop culture phenomenon!

Now, I’m an adult and no longer require my mother’s permission to purchase useless items, so I ordered my very own Sea Monkey kit through Amazon. Two days later I had a kit with a beautiful castle inside for my new Sea Monkey family to call their home. I got out all the instructions and a list of the contents to make sure I had everything I needed. I poured warm water into the container and looked for the packet marked with the number one which was for the water treatment that makes the environment habitable for my buddies. WAIT. I have packet two and packet three but no packet one. NO PACKET ONE! DAMN YOU SEA MONKEYS! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

Now, Pet Rocks, those were amazing…

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