Land of the lost

The Covington News - - Opinion -

“Daddy, I’m scared.” It’s an oft-heard re­frain come bed­time at the Rob­bins’ abode, along with “Daddy, I’m thirsty,” “Daddy, I’m h u n g r y,” “Daddy, I’m go­ing to throw up,” “Daddy, I’ve got to go to the bath­room,” “Daddy, tell me a story,” and “Daddy, I can’t go to sleep at 6 o’clock.”

Our chil­dren just don’t like to go to sleep, es­pe­cially when it’s day­light (which is when Daddy of­ten tries to put them to bed when left to his own de­vices).

This time, though, our sixyear-old son’s fears seemed gen­uine.

“Daddy, I can’t go to sleep, I’m scared,” he re­peated af­ter I rolled my eyes. I took the bait. “Okay, what are you scared of?”

“Di­nosaurs, Daddy,” he said with a chill. “I’m scared a di­nosaur is go­ing to eat me.”

I chuck­led, then sat down on the edge of his bed.

“Son, there is no such thing as di­nosaurs,” I said re­as­suredly. “They’re ex­tinct.”

“But Daddy, I’m not scared of their stink,” he said. “I’m scared of them eat­ing me. Didn’t you hear me?” An­other chuckle. “No, no, they are EX-TINCT, mean­ing they are no longer around,” I ex­plained to a puz­zled brow. “They all died hun­dreds of years ago. There are no more di­nosaurs on earth.”

This bit of in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion was met with si­lence. Fi­nally, he of­fered, “Who told you that?”

“Well, I read about it when I was in school.”

“I think things have changed since then, cause I see them on TV all the time,” he said.

“No, but see, son, that isn’t real,” I replied. “Those di­nosaurs on TV are pre­tend, like car­toons. It’s fake.” He wasn’t buy­ing it. “How did they die then?” “ They be­came ex­tinct be­cause they, well, they, didn’t have any food to eat or any­thing to drink and they all died be­cause of that,” I mus­tered, try­ing to re­mem­ber what I slept through in sev­enth-grade science.

“They couldn’t find any­thing to drink?”

“Yeah, that’s right,” I said with a sud­den spark of con­fi­dence. “They couldn’t find any­thing to drink.”

“Why didn’t they just drink a Coke or some­thing?”

“They didn’t have Cokes back then, son,” I re­sponded.

“Why didn’t they go to the gro­cery store to get some­thing to eat?”

“They didn’t have gro­cery stores back then,” I re­sponded.

“Why didn’t they go to the Dairy Queen?”

“They didn’t have a Dairy Queen back then,” I re­sponded. “Why didn’t they eat dogs?” “They didn’t have dogs back then,” I re­sponded. “They didn’t have dogs?” “No,” I said, sens­ing the end of the in­qui­si­tion. “They didn’t have dogs.”

Ap­par­ently sat­is­fied, he turned over, as if ready to go to sleep. I said, “Good night,” stood up and started walk­ing out of his bed­room.

“Daddy,” I heard softly as I reached the door.

“Yes,” I said, stand­ing in the door­way.

“Daddy, if the di­nosaurs didn’t have any­thing to eat or drink, why didn’t you give them some­thing?”

“I didn’t have time, son,” I said with­out pause. “I was too busy in­vent­ing fire.”

ROB­BINS

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