I was probably about three years old. The Cheerios box, of which I was an avid everday reader, had an ad for these little guys called Squirmles.
The ad portrayed these fluffy wormy play things as pets that did tricks, crawled through walls, up table legs, across the counter, and so on. The possibilities were endless, and I wanted one.
After days and days and weeks of begging my mom to send away for my Squirmles, she finally did. I helped her cut out the coupon from the box, filled out my name, picked my color (orange), and helped her stick the stamp on the envelope. We dropped it in the mail that day and came home. And waited.
“Are the Squirmles here yet?” “Not yet.”
So I waited.
And waited, checking the mailbox each day. No package, no Squirmle, no nothing.
About a month and a half later, my mom came in with the mail with a smile on her face. “I think this package may be for you,” she grinned, handing me the package.
I grabbed it in my little hands and struggled to tear open the corner. Mom helped. Inside the bubblewrap-lined manila envelope was a Squirmle! My friend! My cohort! My partner in crime! We were gonna change the world.
And he’s finally here!
Convinced that the two-month wait was well worth what would be coming next, I began gathering props from around the house so that my Squirmle and I could pull off some of the stunts boasted on the back of the Cheerios box.
A drinking glass gave us the drinking glass trick; I’d put the Squirmle in and pull him out by the invisible string. I set up the shutter doors on the closet just so, weaving the invisible line through the shutters perfectly, and voila! I pulled on the line and the Squirmle magically crawled in and out of the shutters. It was amazing!
After about five minutes of redefining the idea of fun with my Squirmle, I noticed what it was made of. If you can imagine a fishing line with some orange fuzz glued to an eight-inch segment of it, and a couple of those sticky beady eyes slapped on the thing, you’ve got a Squirmle.
After about five and a half minutes, probably after I was trying to pull off the “round the coffee table and under the couch manuever” with the Squirmle, the whole thing fell apart. I mean everywhere. Orange hairs scattered through the room, wedged in the carpet, some stuck between the chair backs and seats, stray orange hairs in the used cereal bowls on the table. Beady eyes nowhere to be found.
I cried. I wept. Like a little girl.
All that waiting, all that hoping, all that anticipation built up to one heartbreaking crescendo. I ordered my Squirmle, I waited for my Squirmle, and waited for my Squirmle, and waited for my Squirmle, and waited…and finally received my Squirmle. With open arms. And played with my Squirmle, for a good five minutes.
And killed my Squirmle.
Yep. Like a little girl.