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Last updated on 8 June 2008

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Monday, August 23, 2004 6:20 am

Since I started posted received flames on this site, I’m not getting as many as I used to… it’s a good thing, I guess, but I do miss my morning dose of witty banter. Well, that all changed this morning and I thought I would share the message!

From: Chris Rickman [mailto:rickman16@hotmail.com]
Sent: August 23, 2004 1:23 AM
To: drseamonkey@telus.net
Subject: Wake up

The only Monkey ever to associate with the ocean is the Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata. In 1952, on the Island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but found the dirt unpleasant. An 18 month old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in the salty ocean water, improving the taste of the potato. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates learned this trick and taught their mothers too. This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by numerous monkeys in the troop and observed by the scientists.

I thought maybe this information might calm your manic obsession with something that does not exist. Interestingly if an adult full grown monkey was dropped in deep isolated water it would drown within an hour.

Okay, so where to start here…I guess I’ll just post the letter I wrote to Chris Rickman, with a few extra comments in blue!

From: Dr Sea Monkey
Sent: August 23, 2004 6:20 AM
To: ‘Chris Rickman’
Subject: RE: Wake up

Thank you for the information on Japanese monkeys. I am aware of these creatures, and have, in fact, read an entire book on their existence. Not only are they an adorable type of monkey, but they make one think about the possibility of group learning and intelligence in animals that one does not generally consider as intelligent. In short, their behaviour really makes one think about human relationships with animals and how we treat them. As for the last line, I would suspect it would take less than an hour to kill a mammal by drowning. Can you tell me where you found this information?

Reading this again, I am definitely wondering how one would know this information. I mean, it’s not the kind of thing you read on the side of a Cheerios box! “Fun fact #12: Did you know it takes approximately one hour to kill a full grown monkey by drowning! It’s a fact!” I’m a little worried now…

A real live 6 week old Sea Monkey!

Having said that, I wonder why you wrote to me. Does my interest in something that doesn’t interest you bother you that much? How do you know Sea Monkeys don’t exist? Have you owned a failed tank or have you just failed to see the evidence for yourself? Because I can assure you, not only do they exist but they are wondrous creatures to behold!

As a note, if you are in the same boat as Chris here, please check out my science site for pictures and video of real, live Sea Monkeys!

The British Lawnmower Museum in Southport, England!

I met with a man in England who has created a lawnmower museum. I don’t particularly like lawnmowers, and I don’t particularly enjoy mowing the lawn. So why did I find him so interesting? His passion for the project. He was so enthusiastic and interested in the topic — it was contagious. I came away from his museum excited and interested in lawnmowers, and have since shared this with others.

I share this story with you for a reason — it doesn’t matter what you love, as long as you have some kind of passion or enthusiasm in your life. I have many interests; Sea Monkeys are amongst that number. And I guess what I’m wondering is why my interest in Sea Monkeys prompted you to cast slurs upon me and question my mental health. Are you jealous that you don’t have something about which you are so passionate? Are you curious why someone like myself would find these creatures so fascinating? Or do you just see something good and fun and exciting and want to kill it? I’m really not sure what motivations you might have, but may I suggest you find something that brings such joy and passion into your life and nurture it?

Sea Monkeys have brought immeasurable levels of joy into my life, and if that isn’t considered “having a life” — and let’s be honest, your well written letter is just a variation on the boring old “get a life” message — then I pity the person who feels that way. Because of Sea Monkeys I’ve travelled to places I didn’t think I’d ever see. I’ve written a book. I’ve talked to famous people and leaders in the business community. And I’ve had loads of attention from the media. In short, I’ve actually created a life for myself as the Sea Monkey Lady that is both fulfilling and interesting.

Check out this site the weekend of August 26th through 30th for pictures of my trip to Vancouver Island!

So think about what you’ve written again…Think about something you enjoy that someone else might not enjoy. Your type of music, for instance. The odds are pretty good I won’t like it, but did I write to you about your lack of taste? Or the television shows you like — again, you and I probably don’t share the same taste, but that doesn’t make you wrong. Or your hobbies — train building, coin collecting, making comments about other people, video games — just because I don’t like them and don’t share your enthusiasm for the topic doesn’t make you a mentally ill person.

As a note, I am not mentally ill in any way, a fact which actually surprises me. I did take the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) a few years back at the sleep clinic, and they told me that I was manic, which also didn’t come as a surprise. But a recent visit with Dr. Smith, an appointment set up by an insurance company, she found I had no personality or mental defects. I was as shocked as you are, gentle reader. I figured I must have something diagnosable, as I am quite hyper and obsessive at times, but nothing! I want to have this in writing and framed on my wall in the near future…

Please, I beg of you, find yourself something to enjoy, something that brings you happiness and pleasure. I beg you because I think if you found your own interests, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge those of others.


To those of you reading this who agree with Chris, that’s your right. But please remember when you write letters like this, it only makes you look like a dork. Diversity of interest is what makes the world interesting. It is what drives people to create Elvis museums and tiny churches and 50 foot concrete rabbits and all kinds of fun filled things one finds on a road trip. Passion is important! Find something you love and do it the best you can! Collect snow globes or comic books, travel to strange places, or just find a book you love and read it repeatedly. Whatever you do, do it with love and passion in your heart. It makes you a more interesting person and maybe some of your enthusiasm will rub off on people like Chris here!

The lecture endeth here…

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