Obsessasaurus: My journey through dinosaur addiction.

11 Sep

So, a few days ago it was my birthday. I recieved the usual 158 facebook notifications, alerting me that 158 people read the margins of FB and took the time to type 13 letter wishes of happiness: “Happy Birthday!” My favorite messages to recieve are the personalized messages. For example: “Hi Carolyn! Remember that one time you and I had that one class together, and you said that one thing and I ROFL’ed for like a whole minute?!? Oh yeah it’s your B day happy bday 22 is SOOOO old, you’re old now HAHAHA J/K… no but really.”

As I laughed and read through my FB messages, I realized that a good number of the hundred-and-some comments included references to dinosaurs. For example, “Happy birthday, you T REX!”  “I got We’re Back: A Dinosaur Story and thought of you. Happy Birthday!” “RAPTOR TURNS 22!!!” “Happy birthday! Hope it’s a good one! Bruhathkayosaurus!” Okay, so that last one wasn’t real, but… you get the idea. It got me thinking: Do I make my love for dinosaurs so well known? Really? I was receiving these dino-themed messages from acquaintances as well as close friends. Surely, my secret obsession is not so obvious?

Well, I started wondering why I love dinosaurs so much. Where did this obsession start? Why dinosaurs? Why not… unicorns? Soccer? Why not Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or blenders? The first memory I have of enjoying dinosaurs is when I lived in Houston. I remember my father leaving to go rent movies, and asking us what we wanted. My sister Caitlyn said she wanted Fivel Goes West. (She liked the little girl mouse Tanya and could usually be heard singing “Run for your LIIIIFE, you’re IIN a mouse TRRRAAAPPP!” in the bathtub.) I, on the other hand, called out, “THE LAND BEFORE TIME!” I vividly remember sitting on the floor, watching the animated bubbles rise to the top of the screen during the opening credits. And then, watching open-mouthed while Littlefoot’s egg is stolen from his mother’s nest, tossed into a river, and is finally reunited with his family, but only after falling down a waterfall. I remember thinking, “It would have cracked!” or “He would have been too cold in the water and he would have died!” It was hard to pull a fast one past me when it came to dinosaurs. I was a very skeptical five year old.

My next dinosaur memory is a very special Christmas morning. My sister woke me and dragged me downstairs, screeching about a stick horse. Sure enough, my mother had crafted a beautiful pink stick horse that was fit for a pink sparkly fairy princess. I, however, received a fierce triceratops head on a stick, perfectly green and decked out with a horn you could press for instant RAWR gratification. I guess my mom didn’t feel like making two stick horses, and figured I’d enjoy a triceratops that she could buy instead of make herself. She figured right. Caitlyn told me I was the bad guy and had to chase her around the house. I obliged. I can’t even imagine how annoying that RAWR noise became within the next… 20 years.

Moving onto the next dino memory- Standing in line to go out to recess in Colorado, I remember seeing a poster on my kindergarten classroom’s wall that looked something like this:

One dino, drawn to scale.

Now, keep in mind- at this point, dinosaurs were, in my mind, cute scaley things on the TV and in my toy box. Now, I suddenly realized how extraordinary and complex these beings had to be. A Brontosaurus was larger than my entire house. Their legs were the size of tree trunks. This BAFFLED me. How could these HUGE creatures rule the world, and then just… disappear? I had to learn more. I started to look for dinosaur books in the library ever Friday. I would beg my father to turn on the Discovery channel when dinosaur shows were on.

I can’t remember much else. From then on, my love just sort of manifested itself in other ways. In middle school, I realized I should be obsessed with more girly things, and decided to hide my love for dinosaurs. Yet, it still managed to come out in little bursts. When prompted to pick a prize from the good attendance box, I’d pick out the pencils with dinosaurs on them, instead of butterflies. I kept a sketch book and secretly drew pictures of dragons and little creatures. As I got older, I started to accept that I was a weirdo. I learned how to impersonate a raptor and did it to make my friends laugh. One time I did it across Time’s Square, and it was kind of funny. I would upload it here, but then I’d have to buy something called “VideoPress”  which costs 59.99. I’m a poor college student, and I don’t have 60 extra dollars to show you a video of me acting like a raptor in New York. You can check out my facebook for the video, because that’s free for both of us! SCORE-O-SAURUS!

I just watched The Land Before Time last night. I’ve been stressing out about auditions and school and everything, so I went to WalMart and got a “family entertainment package!” which included, ironically, An American Tail (Oh yeah), Balto (OH yeah!), and The Land Before Time (COMPLETE AND TOTAL VICTORY! OH YEAH!!!! …Best $13.00 I’ve ever spent. Literally.) I forgot how beautiful old animated movies are! They used to have en entire orchestra record the score for the movies, the backgrounds are literally paintings done by hand, and the expressions of the characters are so genuine, it’s hard not to tear up on the sentimental parts. I was amazed at the time the writers dedicated to showing Littlefoot’s depression after his mother dies. As a child, I just understood the concept: Littlefoot is sad. But the writers actually portrayed depression in a delicately accurate way. Littlefoot doesn’t eat, sleep, or move. All he thinks about is his mother. There is a 4 minute montage of him not responding to anything or anyone, simply wandering around the dessert. He even says, “It’s all her fault! She should have known better! ….my tummy hurts.” After dealing with death numerous times in my short 22 years of life, I got to see Littlefoot’s journey in a whole new way. I’m ashamed to say that I cried here-and-there throughout the whole thing because I was so happy to be watching it again. Note to self: When feeling sad, or lonely, or when you miss your mother, watch The Land Before Time.

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One Response to “Obsessasaurus: My journey through dinosaur addiction.”

  1. Margie Barto Barry September 17, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    Now, just so you know. I found that Triceratops and went absolutely nuts. “AH!” (I scream in the store, not caring that several mothers are startled because of their pre-Christmas I can’t-find-the-toy-I’m-looking-for nerves.) “Carolyn will love this! She loves dinosaurs and horses, so what could be better? I’ll tell you what! NOTHING! Riding a dinosaur like a horse? Nothing better in my baby’s eyes!” I didn’t look at the price, it was mine. And I was one happy mother. Ah-hem.

    Now. What comparable gift to encourage both children to play together? Caitlyn was not exactly the “riding” type. If you got the dino, you would have been happy. But since older sister was the dominant one when it came to activity selection, I knew that ferocious “rawr-ing” creature would sit in the corner unless I could think of something. So, relying on my God-given creativity, I thought, “It’s gotta be pink, and it has to involve a ballerina or a princess.” Hmm, what do princesses ride? Thus, the pink stick horse from left over quilting fabric.

    So, see, honey? Your gift was first. And it wasn’t bought because I didn’t want to make a second of something. It was your gift because it was perfect for you, and I bought IT first.

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