Adventures in Writing: (Part 16 of 20?)

Take 20 words chosen at random. Put them in a bowl. Draw one, and write something about it.

Simple? Maybe not.


Am I a dinosaur?

I only partially match the literal definition of the word.

I am not, to the best of my knowledge, genetically reptilian. I am reasonably warm-blooded, unless I’m dealing with telemarketers or car dealers.

My teeth are not razor sharp. I have no claws.

I am not extinct. I know this because I just, with only minor difficulty, found my pulse. Good to know.

Looking in the mirror, however, I seem to exhibit some characteristics of the big lizards. My skin is a little scaly looking – just a little, not full-blown alligator skin scaly. I possess a diminutive dewlap, which I can make disappear, I think, by looking straight up at the ceiling.

My eyesight is less than 20-20. I can compensate by squinting. Unfortunately that contributes to my overall dinosaur resemblance. Better to keep the world softly blurred.

Overall, I do not look much like a dinosaur. Now, my wife’s cousin, Earl. There’s a guy everyone says is a dinosaur. Not just behind his back. When they see him coming down the street, they actually scream “Dinosaur!”

Cousin Earl

I am quite fond of meat. I would not attempt to eat it raw unless it is very lean and has been run through a grinder. Steak tartare. Yum.

I have been known to roar when injured or sufficiently agitated. Keep that in mind, insurance company claim-deniers who send me forms to see if anyone else can pay.

Moving on to the figurative definition of dinosaur – I see myself, and yet I don’t.

I am generally uncomfortable with change. When I come home to find that my wife has again rearranged the living room furniture, I react with all the enthusiasm I generally reserve for discovering my supermarket has moved cold beer from aisle 14 to an undisclosed, super-secret location.

I am, as the dictionary definition of the figurative dinosaur states, “impractically large.” I don’t believe that I have grown dinosaur-large, but large enough to put me in a category size somewhere between normal human and standard dinosaur. I maintain that I’m just “big-boned.”

In other areas, I have been all too readily receptive to change. Take technology. I’m the guy who will buy a shiny, new Blu-ray Disc player for several hundred dollars when the devices make their initial appearance. A dinosaur would have waited a few months and bought a more feature-rich model for less than half what I paid.

True dinosaurs are more frugal and cash-retentive than I. They also have larger bank accounts, many of them in the Cayman Islands.

I see myself as neither out-of-date or obsolete, two other terms used in the dictionary definition of the figurative dinosaur. Despite my Social Security benefit-qualified age, I’m still gainfully employed and working 40 to 60 hours per week.

I am not protected by a union and have signed the mandatory “employed at will” stipulation, meaning they don’t need no stinking reason to kick my mangy ass out the door. My employer of nearly 11 years is not one to keep non-productive employees on board. I therefore assume that I am still seen as adding more than I am subtracting from the company bottom line.

That doesn’t mean that I take my job for granted. I go to work every day thinking that it might be my last. I frequently spin around without warning to see what threats may be lurking behind me – just in case. In contrast, dinosaurs never saw their demise coming.

So, purebred dinosaur, in any form, I am not. These days, though, I often think that it might be nice to be a dinosaur. They ruled the earth for 150 million years. Humans, including all of our apish ancestors, have only been around for about 6 million years.

I don’t see a 150-million-candle birthday cake in the Human Race’s future.