COLUMN: Sea-Monkeys grant life-giving powers and disappointment
Talking out of Turn
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 14:01
Perhaps the first thing any young scholar should learn is not to play God — for examples, see Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. For those who insist to turn their backs on conventional science, I offer a more contemporary and harrowing tragedy of man wearing the mask of creator.
I recently received means by which life might be molded to my liking — I got a Sea-Monkey kit for Christmas. Sea-Monkeys, a staple of American culture — as are freedom, liberty and obesity — have been around since the 1950s, having set the bar for novelty toys. Any “mad scientist” kit is simply a poor attempt at reproducing the miracle of Sea-Monkeys: life from nothingness. But at what cost have Sea-Monkeys attained notoriety? At the cost of a man’s soul? Perhaps a million souls?
In 1957, Harold Von Braunhut created Sea-Monkeys. As though spitting in the face of the scientific and religious communities around him, Von Braunhut called his product “Instant Life” until his wife informed him how much of a jerk everyone thought he was. He then changed it to Sea-Monkeys. But that title creates a conundrum from which no Sea-Monkey farmer can escape: Can man be the creator of life?
Thankfully, Sea-Monkeys are way less impressive than the title “Instant Life” makes them sound. First of all, they stink. That’s due to the fact that, no matter how much you want them to be seafaring mammals, in the end they’re just brine shrimp, and brine shrimp, for those fair readers who haven’t been to the Great Salt Lake, smell awful.
But rather than insult the noble brine shrimp, I’ll simply walk you through the steps that lead to the creation of “Instant Life.”
Step 1. Forget you have some Sea-Monkey eggs in your car and leave them in overnight. This is most effective in the middle of winter. Now while you might think this would kill the fragile brine shrimp, keep in mind they exist in a cryptobiotic state, which is a fancy way of saying everything has been taken from them and they are frozen until some merciful twelve-year-old makes the mistake of buying them and dropping them in water, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Step 2. Put some water in the small tank provided and mix in the water purifying packet. The instructions suggest you use water that’s around 76 degrees, but as with all mad scientists, there must be a rule broken or there will be no cautionary tale to tell to children. So make the water a little cooler, but just say to yourself, “Oh, it’ll be okay. The water will warm up to room temperature and everything will be as it should be.”
Step 3. Read on the internet the packet labeled “Water Purifier” is actually evil Von Braunhut’s way of tricking poor innocent children into believing the eggs hatch instantly. Some of the eggs are in the purifier itself, while the package marked “Live Eggs” contains a dye that makes those now-hatched brine shrimp easier to see.
Step 4. Realize you’ve probably killed all the Sea-Monkeys by freezing them to death.
Step 5. Tell yourself, “It’s okay, they were frozen to begin with, they can handle it!”
Congratulations, instead of creating life, you’ve only served to prolong its suffering. However, according to the instructions, you still have a couple days to see if the eggs will hatch. If you’re lucky, you can skip town before your roommates realize how many innocent lives you’ve single handedly ended.
So the short answer is no, man cannot act as creator of life. However, the experience of raising Sea-Monkeys strengthens the notion that, yes, man can take every living thing, down to the smallest creature, and ruin its life.
– Kendall is a Senior majoring in literary studies. Send him junk mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and heckle him at campadventurous.blogspot.com or on Twitter @KendallPack. Kendall is a member of local comedy troupe Logan Out Loud. Find them on Facebook.