Our second little thing is a doodlewash of a goldfish in a bowl. I was always fascinated with these creatures as a kid. They seemed like they were trying to communicate (most likely saying, “get me the hell out of this tiny bowl you jerk”) and always seemed incredibly bored. Lots of my friends had them when I was growing up because they were the go-to low maintenance pet. All of them had asked for a hamster, dog or cat and were instead “surprised” with one of these instead and told not to touch it.
Since I was one of the kids lucky enough to be given a hamster, I wasn’t allowed to also have a goldfish. When my whining grew too great, my mother finally gave in and got me my very own consolation prize: Sea-Monkeys. Instead of being disappointed, I was absolutely thrilled and thought I had really scored something magical. That was until I discovered they were not actual little monkeys who lived in water, but something else entirely.
The packaging showed a disturbingly naked family of human-like creatures with tails who were wearing crowns. Along with this was the exciting proclamation that these were “Live Sea-Monkeys” which was good, as nobody ever wants to receive a dead pet. I vaguely remembered the ads from my comic books and so I was intrigued. After all, they had promised these were “a bowl full of happiness you can grow yourself” and, best of all, they are “so eager to please – they can even be ‘trained’!” The fact that “trained” was in quotes had escaped me during my initial excitement.
Unfortunately, once the “live eggs” hatched, what appeared was something that looked like floating pieces of lint. I used the growth food as instructed, however, they never grew up to become that happy family from the box and remained seemingly lifeless microscopic sea creatures. Refusing to give up, I attempted to “train” them as described and play some music to watch them dance. They just stopped moving entirely. This was when I realized it was a hoax. I mean honestly, who could resist the sultry belting of Tina Turner or not bounce around happily when hearing the theme from Footloose.
Once, as an adult, I almost bought some Sea-Monkeys just to see if maybe things had changed. But I resisted. I didn’t want to live through the disappointment again should the same outcome occur. And if they had grown up to become the happy family on the package, I would have just felt bad that they had to live in a tiny bowl and likely found their nudist lifestyle to be uncomfortably awkward. So, I think I’ll just stick with dogs. Now that I’m old enough to have one without having to ask my parents first.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Azo Orange, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Blue, Neutral Tint. Winsor & Newton: Permanent White Gouache and Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal