Jurassic Park


I don't belong.

Not in this brave new world, I don't.

Guys like me are throwbacks, or better yet, relics of a past so dim in recent memory that most members of modern society look upon us as lumbering dinosaurs, crashing through the modern autocratic forests, fangs bared, bellowing in frustration as we realize that our time has come and gone. It is a brave new world out there, a brave new world that has passed us by, a brave new world that has been crafted by new gods strange and unfamiliar to us, a brave new world that no longer has room for us.

We dinosaurs, men and women alike, and of varying ages, colors and creeds, were raised on something called personal responsibility; the now-fossilized assumption that if you were hungry you made your own money and provided for yourself, and for your loved ones. The "pursuit of happiness" was and is real to us. We dinosaurs laid our eggs; hatched our eggs, nurtured our young and raised them to become responsible adults, but to our everlasting discredit we dinosaurs, when confronted with a changing world, thrashed and bellowed and filled the landscape with fearsome noises full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The world has passed us by, and I see a future in which we once lords of all the earth will be no more than ossified shadows encased in stone, waiting to be chipped out by curious future generations who will marvel at our great size and strength, our rows of razor-sharp fangs and scimitar-like claws. They will create models that will simulate us and future students will flood museums to hear our faux selves bellow and gnash our teeth and they will tremble at our memory. After the show they will be lectured on how and why we dinosaurs died off, in spite of our size and strength. These wide-eyed children of the future will be taught, accurately, that we dinosaurs were inflexible creatures who could not and would not, conform. We clung to a prehistoric values system, consumed meat on a tofu planet, attempted to keep the blood line strong to ensure the future of the species. Life passed us by while we lived in a world of our own creation, a world that slowly shrunk around us, tightening like a noose until we were strangled by our inability to change with the times.

Case in point? Waukegan, IL schools have decided to now feed all children in the system. Not hungry children. Not disadvantaged children. Not some children, but all children:

The logic behind this is that so many children are now "poor" that it is cheaper just to set out breakfast and lunch for everyone than to engage in cost-prohibitive means testing. We Jurassics read this and bellow. The public schools have long been a concern of ours, especially their propensity to more and more become the nation's parents. We feel it is our duty as parents to teach our progeny to hunt and provide for themselves, so we roar and claw at the air and grind our teeth; but no one is listening. While we perform our histrionics the rest of the jungle is lining up for free lunch.

But we know it is not free. The price for this is enormous. It comes at a cost that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, but rather in soul. I know how ridiculous this sounds to the masses, and that many of you out there who are reading this are laughing to yourselves right now, chuckling at the old Tyrannosaur, the museum piece who belongs locked away in a glass case and stifled, forcibly muted, his old bones frozen in time.

I agree. So que up for your free breakfast and lunch and free trips to the doctor and free rent and free utilities and free TV and free transportation and freedom from heartache and pain and disappointment. You have taken "pursuit" out of the happiness equation. The government now provides life, liberty and happiness. You no longer have to pursue fulfillment; Congress will do it for you.

Good for you. Now let this dinosaur and his old bones rest. There is no room for me in your brave new world, and there is no room for you in mine.

Lenny Palmer 8/30/2011


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