When I was a child, I was an avid consumer of comic books (long before the intellectual-sounding appellation "graphic novel" was invented) and I was always amused by the advert on the back cover. It would invariably be for one of the most horrible products on earth, and the worst of the worst was for the society-building colony of "sea monkeys" who would begin life as a powder in a packet and end it as...well, in theory, it would be a monkey-like water-dwelling king (wearing a crown, no less) surrounded by his subjects, who would have built large structures in the bottom of your aquarium that resembled Incan ruins. From my understanding, the actual sea monkey colony were a sort of krill that floated around passively and possessed no carpentry skills whatsoever.
The second-worst advert (but not runner-up by much) featured a puny little bloke sat on the beach who, despite his obvious physical shortcomings, had managed to nab a rather fit bird. Their bond, however, had to be quite tenuous because at the first hint of interest from a gigantic, muscle-bound hulk of a man, she tossed said puny bloke aside and ran off with this big bully who, not satisfied with stealing his woman, decided to kick a large sandpile into Puny's face.
Puny, it should be said, must have had some redeeming quality about him to nick that totty in the first place, I'm certain. Perhaps he was witty. Perhaps he was good at maths. Maybe he was good at organising his sock drawer. Who can say? But still, she saw something in him. That is, until Hulky came along and flexed his muscles and decided to add insult to injury with the sand-kicking. And that is where the story got really interesting, because for the first time in his life, Puny decided to undertake a fitness regime that would take him from "zero to hero!" Through the motivation of strongman Charles Atlas, Puny was able to take his measure of revenge on Hulky and live happily ever after, hopefully finding catharsis in being his own brand of sand-kicking bully! Hurrah!
I have two questions about both of these adverts. 1) Who actually bought the sea monkeys? 2) Why did Puny need to lose his girlfriend and have sand kicked in his face before he decided to change his life?
The people who sold the sea monkeys must have thought that clever enough marketing could persuade enough gullible people to purchase sea monkeys despite their obvious utter uselessness and fantastic promises of Incan ruins in the bottom of aquariums. And so for years, Sea Monkeys, Inc. were allowed to coast along, selling rubbish to suckers. The suckers themselves, well, I supposed you could either pity them or shake your head in disbelief. I have not researched how many people demanded a refund for their purchase of these not-at-all kingdom building not-at-all-monkeys.
The story of Puny seems particularly pathetic. Here's a bloke who really should've organised his life around his priorities and not overextended himself. What's his ambition? I can't see Prof. Hawking calling up (insert name of slag o' the month here) and inviting her to the beach. But at the same time I can't see Muscles McGee going for a doctorate in particle physics or whatever it is brainy people study (Over to you, Helen). Why was Puny with some tart that was looking to trade up to Hulky in the first place? If you're not going to "give her what she wants" then surely the best course of action would be to find the girl with the drooly overbite who appreciates your intentions from the starting gun.
So Puny FINALLY decided to "improve himself" (now there's a subjective measurement if I've ever heard one). Good for him. But not because of some serious self-examination-you know, where he says "Although I have many fine qualities, I am not the man I wish to be"-nor because he noticed that other blokes were considerably more muscle-y-where he says "I am not as fit as my rival." No, it only happened because he was so self-deluded as to think that he was man enough to keep slag o' the month without any real self-improvement and then Hulky completely humiliated him! Seriously, Puny, that's PATHETIC. Either date women of your station or take corrective action! How thick do you have to be to need some anthropological throwback kicking sand in your face before you decide to take corrective action? You're a proper DOLT, man!
I can't imagine one of the world's largest football clubs acting like Puny, can you? Or acting like the vendors of sea monkeys? It seems impossible.
How did that sand taste, Arsène?
How were the sea monkey sales coming along, Ivan?
Will last Wednesday forever be known as "The Day Arsenal purchased the Charles Atlas Fitness Course?"
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