Requiem of the Sea Monkeys - Joel Hall

I knew that one day I would have to write this column. Sadly, my colony of Sea Monkeys is no more.

In August of last year, I discovered an amazing find while shopping at the ALDI grocery store in Riverdale. In its blessed randomness, I located a Sea Monkey starter kit.

When I laid eyes on it, I quickly pushed past the peanut butter and FM/AM clock radio standing in the way. A check was placed on the mental list of things I plan to do before I die.

Ride in a hot air balloon ... check. Eat poisonous blowfish and survive ... check. Grow a Sea Monkey colony ... check.

In my wildest dreams, I never knew life could be spawned from a little pouch no larger than a pack of sugar. For months, even through neglect, the colony prevailed, growing from a small group of fighters to a teeming swarm of curious crustaceans.

However, the Sea Monkeys didn't survive my whirlwind summer.

In the course of two weeks at the end of July, I moved (within the county), traveled to Michigan, went over the border to Canada, went to a week-long journalism conference in Chicago, Ill., and came back to work.

I believe the stress was too much for the poor little Sea Monkeys. Not only did they have to deal with the stress of living in a new environment -- for the first two weeks, they had to do so alone.

Before leaving on my vacation, there was no time to tend to my Sea Monkeys as I usually do. The move at the end of July was a miracle by itself.

Working in a career field where every bit of time is crucial, I often find myself without time to do anything else. The night before the move, after a full day of work, I stayed up the entire night packing away my tiny apartment.

Starting at 7 a.m., the next morning, I moved my entire apartment with the help of my friend and his Dodge Magnum. Time was of the essence, because the same day, I had to take my car to the shop to replace the automatic window motor, and somehow, ride C-TRAN to the airport in time to catch my 4 p.m., flight to Detroit.

Something had to give. Although I carefully carried my Sea Monkey colony and placed it on the windowsill of my new apartment, I forgot to give them their Sea Monkey food before I left.

That was the nail in the coffin.

I enjoyed my vacation thoroughly, but when I came back, I knew something was different. The green, algae-filled water in which the Sea Monkeys lived was pitch black.

There was no movement, only silence.

While Sea Monkeys are not the most expressive creatures, for those few moments, I felt their pain. What Sea Monkey dreams never came to be, all for the sake of greener pastures and a two-week trip to the Midwest?

I guess I'll never know.

I haven't figured out a fitting burial, because while the county's water system is top-of-the-line, I worry what flushing the vestiges of a Sea Monkey society would do to the local ecosystem.

The former Sea Monkey colony still sits on my windowsill as a reminder of the time in which I was allowed to explore my childhood curiosity.

Thanks for the memories, noble Sea Monkeys. You will be missed.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.