In The Light
For years — something like 57 of them — I thought I was the most uncool, unhip, least fashionable person on the planet.
Because of Sea Monkeys.
Those family-oriented, smiley faced, water breathing, creatures I’d always see advertised in the back of comic books when I was kid.
I showed mom and dad sea monkeys staring out from a fish bowl, waving while other, little baby sea monkeys frolicked in the background. There was also a little sea monkey castle that I sup-posed they lived in.
They looked so happy. So content. They looked like they lived in a magic kingdom and everything was swell. I’d give my mom $3 and ask her to order the sea monkeys for me.
“Oh, you don’t need those things,” she chided me with a smile.
Mothers were always chiding children when I was growing up. It was a nice way of saying, “You’re so young and so … gullible. And I won’t let you waste your money on things like this. It’s bad enough you buy comic books.”
Chide: “transitive verb: to voice disapproval to: reproach in a usually mild and constructive manner: scold. She chided us for arriving late.”
Being a somewhat stubborn child I would then go get my comic book, open it to the page of smil-ing, waving, friendly sea monkey advertisement and show it to her.
“Please,” I’d whine (but in a way that was easy on the ears). “Look how happy they make everything.”
Gullible: gullible adjective.us. Easily deceived or tricked, and too willing to believe everything that other people say: a gullible young man.
Mom would give me the “Mother” look. You know the one. It’s a cross between pity and “This can’t be my child and maybe he was switched at birth and my real child is studying to be a doctor” look.
I later learned that sea monkeys were nothing more than brine shrimp and they had a life span of something like 12 minutes.
When I was a little older I wanted a really cool stereo system. Something loud. Something that would release the full sound of Bachman Turner Overdrive and, if I were lucky, make my ears bleed. That would sure make me stand tall amongst my peers.
Their ears were, after all, bleeding profusely.
Alas, like the sea monkeys …
“Here’s a nice little turntable. Maybe you can play some 45s on it. I think your aunt has some Elvis Presley records you can borrow.”
Not only was I a social outcast, I had no head snapping, make your ears bleed and nose run music.
I knew I was doomed to wear polyester pants that came up to my shin bones when I got older.
I could make a list of all the cool and hip stuff I wanted but never seem to have and you would probably weep for me and say something like, “Poor, poor you.”
Or probably not.
The latest thing I thought would be nice to have, that might push me into hipness and coolness, is the Amazon Echo. Santa, or one of his close associates, finally took pity on me and said, “He is so uncool, let’s make him hip and give him an Echo.”
I think they realized that I am so uncool and unhip that I think “uncool” and “unhip” are what you are supposed to say when you are uncool and unhip. I’m sure there are better, more hip, more cool words out there. I just don’t know them.
I am, after all, busy trying to find the shortest pair of polyester pants on the planet.
“Alexa, play Limelight by Rush.”
“Alexa, play Surrender by Cheap Trick.”
Alexa plays the tunes.
“Alexa, tell me a joke.”
Alexa tells me a joke.
“Alexa, what’s the weather like?”
I get the weather courtesy of Miss Alexa.
“Alexa, play Missio.”
“Alexa, play The Dirty Heads.”
“You’re not Gucci enough for Missio, or The Dirty Heads,” Alexa says.
Yep, the curse of the Sea Monkeys continues.