I was about as gullible when I was a child as I was imaginative. I believed everything I read about or heard or saw on television was true, and especially the commercials. This is how (as I have written another time) I sent away for a Roy Rogers action set that promised, for a quarter, to deliver practically life-size figures of Roy, Dale, Pat Brady, their horses and Pat’s Jeep. When the figures came, they were, in the words of my mother, “almost big enough to see” and molded in a plastic the color of, well, sorry, but the color of vomit. You think I would have learned from such an experience. But I didn’t.
I also insisted on sending off for “a magic flying cape” as advertised on the back of a bag of carrots. The deal was I had to eat the carrots before ordering the cape which my mother assured me was a waste of time and money. It was. The “magic flying cape” was about a micron thick and ripped to shreds the first time I tried to fly off our porch and tore the thing to shreds.
Still, I did not learn, as the episode of the sea monkeys illustrates. Poet Leigh Giza mentioned sea monkeys in a Facebook post the other day and I was reminded of another adventure in consumer cluelessness on my part. The ads in comic books showed the “sea monkeys” as little monkeys in water dressed up like clowns, for some reason. They were, of course, brine shrimp, which, when they arrived and hatched, looked more like mosquito larvae than any kind of monkey. I guess. They were too small to tell what they looked like.
And so I was duped again. But then there was the ant farm, but that’s another story entirely.