This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for DINOSAURS.
These great, prehistoric lizards that roamed the earth millions and millions of years ago have captured our imaginations and our wonderment since our childhood. How could an animal grow to be so magnificently tall? So long? So armored? So sleek? So odd looking, with horns and spikes and a club for a tail? How could an animal be so peaceful and large? So fierce and hungry? Such a sucker for tarpits?
We found different ways of grappling with the mystery of time. Triassic period? Jurassic? Cretaceous? Meteor? How long is a million years? How long ago is 65 million years? The idea of so much time was so exciting, yet so mystifying that we could not stop finding ways of how to measure it. We built time machines, we quantified in terms of peanut butter sandwiches. We imagined the length of a day, then multiplied it by a billion and tried to think back far, deep in the wormhole of earth’s past. Past the people, past the mammoths, past the birds to the reptilean shrieks of the land before time.
Without dinosaurs, we would have no T-Rex pushups jokes. No two-brained stegosauruses. I would not be able to express my admiration of the velociraptor, easily the funniest and most comedic animal of all time, in spite of (well, rather because of) its carnivorous and ferocious tendencies.
As much as I love dinosaurs, what I am most thankful for of all is that they are dead. It would be such a nuisance to have to be occupied with the threat of being devoured by a flock of velociraptors on my way to class. Imagine having to wait hours on the highway for a brontosaurus crossing. Imagine having to duct tape your fridge shut so that ornithiomimus wouldn’t steal your eggs.
As you count your blessings, make sure to include dinosaurs in your lists of gratitude. They play a bigger part in your life than you remember, and they’re no longer going to kill you, unless you go to a museum and a fossilized triceratops falls on your head.
Now go out and hug a stegosaurus.