July 11, 2000
On July 7, 2000, some of my friends presented me with the birthday gift of a lifetime: The Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys Ocean-Zoo. Anyone born after 1950 understands the magic and mystery of the Sea-Monkey. Growing up, I had seen the ads in comic books and marveled (somewhat skeptically, to be sure) at the cartoons depicting the Sea-Monkey family with their little royal crowns and spiffy ‘50s wardrobes. Like most people, I had never actually started a Sea-Monkey colony or observed the creatures in the flesh.
The following is my account of the experience of creating and maintaining “Instant Life” (i.e. bug-like brine shrimp in water) on my desk. It is broken into installments, which were e-mailed to a rapidly growing list of subscribers beginning with the day I first attempted to hatch the Sea-Monkeys.
On Friday, I carefully read the directions to The Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys Ocean-Zoo ("absolutely guaranteed to grow!") then filled the Zoo with filtered water and stirred in the water purifier packet. There were lots of warnings about letting the water sit AT LEAST 24-30 hours before adding the eggs. Since it didn't say anything bad about letting the water sit longer than that, I decided to leave the Zoo on my desk over the weekend and create life on Monday.
It turns out that a lot of water can evaporate over a weekend. Since the instructions had carried dire cautions about mineral concentrations, I figured it would be okay to top off the tank with more purified water. Then, I stirred in the Instant Life packet, which turned the water greenish and caused some sediment to form at the bottom of the tank. I periodically peered into the cloudy water throughout the day, but I couldn't tell if the little floating black dots were alive or not. According to the instruction book, it is hard to spot the Sea Monkeys the first day, but they would be TWICE AS BIG the next day.
Already, it was occurring to me that a guy in Bryans Road, Maryland spends all his time laughing and laughing at the thought of people straining their eyes to look at $10 "dots-of-marine-debris-in-a-jar-of-water" that he's made his fortune selling since the 1950s.
Today I was anticipating the sight of double-sized little floating black dots, but, frankly, they all look the same as they did yesterday. It is completely impossible to tell if the dots in question are moving of their own volition or are just stirred up by the jiggling water when I pick up the Zoo.
I am still optimistic that I am supporting Instant Life. They (assuming there is a "they") don't need to be fed until Monday, so I am so far spared the potential embarrassment of "feeding" a tank full of nothing. My main areas of self-doubt and guilt so far are:
- Did I let the water sit too long before I added the Instant Life? and
- Was it bad to add more water right before trying to hatch the eggs?