Behind the Scenes of a Dinosaur Obsession

I fell in love with Dinosaurs when I was six years old. It’s the perfect age to discover something that is going to take root in your soul and stay forever.

This year was 1993, and Jurassic Park was everywhere. That certainly helped. Convincing my mom to buy me dinosaur books and toys, and take me to museums was really really easy. My mom liked dinosaurs too, although really she just enjoyed encouraging whatever we were enthusiastic about. This is one of the reasons my sister and I are so awesome.
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I grew taller. Obsessions came and went, particularly Star Wars, Monty Python, and Doctor Who (which is kind of like Star Wars and Monty Python mixed together), but Dinosaurs always remained. There were always dinosaur toys on the floor of whatever house I was living in. Dinosaur stickers on my bag. Dinosaur doodles on nearly ever piece of paper I owned. The research about dinosaurs changed, things I thought I knew updated. Pterodactyls lost the dactyl. Velociraptors shrunk and grew feathers. Triceratops becomes a juvenile Torosaur. Brontosaurus is made defunct, (a Brachiosaur skull on an Apatosaurus body, or some such) and then gets reinstated! Mind blown. I keep up with it as best I can, while still treasuring my 1990’s Smithsonian Field Guide, whose illustrations are becoming increasingly inaccurate. I own Jurassic Park on VHS, DVD, and BluRay.

During our first year of dating, my then girlfriend (now wife) takes me to see the ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ stage show extravaganza, with the most ridiculously giant and accurate puppets you’ve ever seen, and I feel exactly what it feels like to encounter a walking breathing 60 foot tall creature. As do all the other 6 year olds in the audience, as we are the  only unaccompanied non-minors in the house. Thus begins the dinosaur birthday tradition, Michelle has found dinosaurs for every birthday since we met.

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My son, Wellington, is now two years old. A little young, I think, to truly grasp what dinosaurs are all about. He’s got a plush Triceratops, and a electronic biting T-Rex in his toy bucket. Recently, he picked up the trike, and made it growl. I didn’t teach him that, he just knew. I can’t wait for him to get a little bigger. We’ve got movies to watch, museums to visit, and all the paper  in the universe to doodle on.

It’s gonna be awesome.

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This personal recollection was brought to you by: A-to-Z-asaurus! A Dino Guide with Teeth! I wrote the book, and my pal Mike Spiers did the illustrations, and we’re using Kickstarter to raise funds to get it printed. If you’re all interested in a book of silly dinosaur facts and outrageous opinions, with lavish illustrations, please check it out! We have until November 4th to get enough pledges to make the book a reality, so now is the time!

 

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