I’ve become of age where many of my friends have volunteered to lose their minds and have children. “It’s w-wonderful!” they stammer, having not slept in roughly two years. Inevitably, during some moment of hysteria, like when their kid discovers the subtle “je ne sais quoi” of the two hour nuclear meltdown, they’ll suggest/demand that I should have kids too. Then they’ll dart to my bedroom and begin poking holes in all my condoms like a deranged breeder.
I get it. If I was going through something as unnatural as raising a kid, I would want some company too.
I am nothing if not a good friend, so in an attempt to empathize with the ordeals of child rising, I bought Sea Monkeys. Makes sense, right?
STEP 1 — CHOOSING A TANK
Parents, unless they are currently engaged in a dedicated drug habit, usually want their kids to have things they never had. Luckily for Sea Monkey parents-to-be, this is a surprisingly cost effective endeavor. For a few extra dollars, you can put an entire castle or pirate ship in your tank; your Sea Monkey children will be convinced you are Lord Rockefeller, King of All Money, The Spice Route Autocrat. “Don’t worry about it” you’ll casually boast, essentially talking to yourself, as you imagine your Sea Monkey children joyfully shrieking over their opulent new toy.
I’m proud to say I spared no expense and invested in a tank that had a freaking giant UFO in it. It was $8.
STEP 2 & 3 — PURIFY WATER and EGG PACK
Now, the first step (aka STEP 2, apparently) is to pour water into the tank and tip in the Water Purifying packet. This prevents city water from outright killing your little Monkeys. Next, is an exercise in patience; you have to wait at least 24 hours so the water will reach some kind of Zen state before putting the Eggs in. As a guy, I know full well that instructions, much like traffic lights and Christmas lists your girlfriend gives you, are but mere suggestions, so I immediately dropped the Eggs into the water.
I kicked up my feet, rubbed my stomach like a pregnant lady, leafed through “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and waited for the glorious eggs to hatch, filling my head with dreams of what amazing people my non-people Sea Monkeys would be when they grew up.
STEP 4 — PANIC
For days nothing happened. My mind raced back to the premature egg dropping. Obviously I should have waited for the suggested 24 hours. Pangs of guilt coursed through me; I felt like a pregnant mother who sipped a cup of coffee before playing full contact football down a flight of stairs. I should have held back, exercised greater parental discipline, but then…
STEP 5 — BIRTH
Oh wait, there they are! Phew!
Now, I won’t compare my Sea Monkeys being born to human childbirth (though I’m about to), but knowing that after days of labor, to finally experience the magic of life (natural birth, thank you very much), well, it goes without saying that the flood of raw emotion is pretty life changing. With my squiggly bundles of joy in front of me, I took a few pictures, called up my friends, and got pretty worked up over what, to be completely honest, looks like creepy bugs floating in the water.
It’s impossible to get away from the fact that Sea Monkeys don’t resemble the artwork on the package and advertisements.
By any stretch of the imagination it’s a pretty severe interpretation of the truth. Imagine if I tried to get away with this:
Like many new fathers, for the next few days I was on deathwatch, checking on the little guys obsessively, making sure that they didn’t smother themselves against the hull of the UFO. I don’t want to get into the whole diaper thing, but breastfeeding was a cinch; they hook on to your nipples nice and easy, and you can feed two dozen of them at once if you’re willing to feel a little infested.
If you said Sea Monkeys were disgusting looking, I concede you wouldn’t be wrong; they have a face and three eyes that only a father could love. And love them I do. So much so, that I made a little comparison between Sea Monkeys and real kids – winning categories outlined in red.
(click on chart below)
It’s tough to argue against the science above. Sea Monkeys trump having real kids. But an unexpected factor elbowed into the equation. The other day my friend Eric showed me a picture of a dinosaur that his 3 and a half year old son Thomas drew for him.
It’s a pretty damn amazing drawing and meaningful enough to warm my Grinch “Who-Hating” Heart. Is it enough to make me want kids of my own? The jury is still out. But let’s just say that if a desperate friend *did* poke holes in all my condoms, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. At least I would have some nice art to put on my walls.
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