I Gave A Birthday Gift That Was Refused By The Intended Recipient
Come get that present out of my house! It’s creepy! No I won’t throw it away!
I’m no anthropological bellweather but I’d like to be sensitive enough recognize changes when they jump up and punch me in the nose.
Which brings me to my story;
My son won a trip by reaching an impossibly high sales quota in the financial service firm where he works. It was for a week in February. He and his wife were going to take a break from the cold Pennsylvania winter and head on down to the Hemingway hide-away of the Florida Keys; where almost every building claims to being part of the great American’s story teller’s past.
I was asked to stay at their house with their two daughters Lily age 8 and Emma age 11.
We were all set to waive goodby as the award winning pair were getting their luggage slung in the trunk of the cab by the driver who would eventually haul the happy couple to the airport.
As he was climbing into the car, my son turned back over his shoulder waved and yelled, “ Emma and Lily have been invited to a birthday party, they know where; they’re going to need a present!
Thanks, Dad — -bye everybody, we’ll call!”
There we were: Emma, Lily and I watching the cab disappear down the street on its way to the airport.
The three of us were looking forward to the coming week with different expectations, I’m sure.
Me, now contemplating the additional challenge of the party and the need for an appropriate gift.
I say appropriate because of my old school attitude of trying not to encourage video games of any kind, social media, chat rooms or any instrument that leads to that type of activity.
I think kids should be occupied by more constructive pursuits.
The girls won’t agree with me nor will any self-respecting Millennials or Cenntennials but I’ll hold fast, after all — I was paying.
Emma, Lily and I discussed the party which was to be held at the house of their friend and classmate, Emily, on Saturday afternoon (the next day). She lived only a few doors down.
We made plans to go to Target the following morning to search for a present for Emily..
All three of us were at Target when the doors opened at 8:00 am.
The girls wandered off together, possibly looking for a present for Emily but more than likely they hightailed it to the electronic section to check out the latest gizmos for themselves.
I sensed that if a decision was to be made on something for Emily, it would have to be made by me..
Strolling with purpose down the aisles and aisles of toys and games an old friend jumped out at me; one that my children successfully gifted and were gifted many time in the past.
Amazing Sea Monkeys
I always considered it a perfect gift. The Amazing Sea Monkeys kit seemed to have a lower profile with kids and their parents now-a-days.
Unfortunately, the gizmos have taken over.
Originally marketed in the late 1950s and early 60s under the name “Instant Life,” the kit sold for just 49 cents. What you got for that princely sum was a packet of dried brine shrimp and their eggs in addition to a small packet of nutrients and the food. The brine shrimp and eggs could remain in a dried state for years — until you added water and the food package.
Like magic, the brine shrimp would come to life and were able to survive and florish for as long as two years under the right circumstances. In a well tended tank there’s a constant evolution of hundreds of Sea Monkeys dying daily and hundreds of eggs hatching.
The minuscule pets had tails like little monkeys and were products of water though not of the ocean. Hence the marketing name Sea Monkeys wrote Tim Walsh in his book, “Toys and the Playmakers who Created Them.”
The most primal of life, they are compared to sea fleas in the natural order of things.
After dragging Emma and Lily out of the gaming section of Target and getting ratification of the counter culture birthday gift for Emily, I was ready to party.
The girls both thought Amazing Sea Monkeys were interesting. A judgement usually a indicating a tepid acceptance.
The party was in the afternoon and we didn’t have too much time left to wrap Emily’s gift and get the girls over to the neighbor’s house.
After dropping them off, I return to my son’s to wait two hours until I was due to walk on over to pick the girls up.
After the party, Emma, Lily and I returned to my son’s house.
I asked them how Emily like the Amazing Sea Monkeys?
The girls went on to explained the fairly recent phenomenon of opening the birthday presents when everyone has left. the party.
Reasonable. You should be able to open your own presents at your leasure.
However, it sucks the joy out of seeing the reaction of the recipient of the results your careful prior gift search.
But the girls told me that’s the way it’s done now.
Tuesday, I got a call from Emily’s mother.
It started off Ok but soon deteriorated.
Brian, I know you’re only the grandfather and probably not responsible for this but those creepy things your granddaughters gave Emily, can’t stay in this house. They’re terrifying everybody.
Gee, I’m sorry that Emily doesn’t like them.
I want your granddaughters to come over and get them right this instant.
Take them away somewhere.
Why don’t you just flush them or dump the tank in the back yard?
MR BARRABEE, THESE ARE LIVING THINGS. EMILY CAN’T JUST KILL THEM!
I had no desire to contribute to a backyard feud for my son and his wife upon their return later that week. I sent the girls over to perform this command humanitarian mission.
I planned on ditching the shrimp in the ways I suggested to Emily’s mother.
The girls were dispatched and returned with the small plastic tank that came with the kit. The Sea Monkeys were barely large enough to detect as little poppy seed dots in the water.
The girls left the Amazing Sea Monkey’s plastic container in the kitchen and ran upstairs to do their homework.
I flushed the dots.
When, the girls came down for dinner, they were horrified!
GRAMPS, THEY’RE LIVING THINGS!
I bought them the Amazing Sea Monkey:Video Game.
The girls returned to their normal state of bliss.