And speaking of crap...there are things we (people my age) always wanted but never could afford to get.
I remember wanting a Gumby and Pokey set in the worst way. Did I get one? No. Did I get something else I seriously didn't want? Yes.
That was the way things happened in those days...we didn't have Happy Meals, Gameboys, and unlimited parental funding every...single...time we went into some store. Nowadays kids don't look forward so much to Christmas, sad to say; as Christmas pretty much happens throughout the year for most kids in some shape or form.
And when I was a little kid I remember reading comic books. They weren't MY comic books as I never had comic books...I did, however have a "French-English Dr. Seuss Dictionary" book and a Barbie wedding set that's worth nearly millions now if only I kept them IN the box and never played with them.
But, again, as usual, I'm digressing.
In the very back of most comic books you'd see these marvelous things you could order for a few bucks...and a few bucks more for shipping and handling. You remember the things...if you are as old as me..."X-ray Specs"...guaranteed to allow you the superhuman ability to see thru clothing...but, for some reason, stopped at underwear. I don't know about you, but I never wore any lead-lined undies - but as the glasses were cheap, perhaps they only allowed you one layer of fabric before their power waned a bit.
So, when I ran across something I always wanted, in, of all places, TJ Maxx...well, I just had to get it.
Then I promptly rang up my friend and proclaimed, "I got something at TJ Maxx I always wanted as a kid! Three guesses what it is!"
"No...I have bras. C'mon, think um...something you wanted as a kid but you never bought it...they'd have them advertised in the back of comic books."
"Um...a Weenie Whistle?"
"No...but I watched 'The Santa Clause', too. I never wanted a Weenie Whistle ever. C'mon...you always knew someone who had a friend who had them...and they said they were bogus..."
"NO! You almost got it - SEA...???..."
"I said seahorses already."
"No! Sea Monkeys!"
(My son, by the way, guessed "Weenie Whistle, too - but did manage to get it right after the 2nd clue. Naturally, I had to call him up, risking life and limb talking on my cell phone in my car, as a monumental thing like Sea Monkeys...well, can't wait until you get home.)
Yes, I, a grown woman of - um - a certain age...plunked down $8.99 plus tax to finally get my dream present.
But, remember...in the ad they had a castle and a whole family and you could watch them grow and prosper and colonize a whole microcosm...right there in your own home! (You didn't need a whole pool. Oh...go read my second-to-last blog.) This wasn't just your run of the mill brine shrimp. No sirree..these were specialized "Sea Monkey" spawn, for cripes' sake. The ads...the ads wouldn't show little faces and tails and stuff if it wasn't so. I mean, this was one of those "money back if you're not satisfied" deals that guarantees this is the real McCoy. And, honestly, how would you even mail back a bunch of living, growing sea creatures, anyway?
So...I carefully laid out my instructions and three foil packets...and removed the paper which surrounded my Sea Monkey habitat...and laid that out as well. Sure, it read like a car or stereo manual...with pictographs and hieroglyphics and arrows and such...but since I have only one shot, I want to make sure I don't do anything wrong. There is, after all, freeze-dried life at stake here.
So, there I was, with my Sea Monkey paraphernalia strewn in front of me like Indiana Jones and a temple map...my eyes darting from one instruction bit to the next...making sure I wasn't going to screw up a crucial step and somehow upset the delicate balance of Sea Monkey-ness.
Everything I did would have to be carefully planned and carried out...plus double checked and rechecked...and rechecked again before I even started. Once I got that ball in motion, as in "Indiana Jones"...there's no stopping it and no turning back.
Day 1: Pour water into Sea Monkey container...let sit for 24 hours.
Damn, damn, damn, damn.
But I've waited for 40 years...another day won't make THAT big a difference.
Sure, that's what grown-ups tell you when you get all antsy and can't wait another minute...and, true to form...I felt like I couldn't wait an entire day. A whole day was light years away...and I was that little kid on Christmas Eve again.
("Monkey Sea...Monkey Blog Two" next time.)