Land Of The Lost

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Please indulge your humble narrator with another trip on Soupy’s Time Machine. Set a course for the prehistoric year of 1975. Shirts with horizontal stripes and pants with vertical stripes were worn together with reckless abandon, and yours truly was no exception. It was probably late spring, I know I was still in school — second grade to be exact, and I know we were studying about Louis Leakey and fossils and shit like that.

My very best friend in the world at the time (we’ll call him Ned) and I were particularly interested in the subject matter. We were practically gay for dinosaurs. In fact I believe my first wet dream involved a T-Rex. (haha, sidebar. I changed that last line 5 times, first saying it was Ned’s wet dream then mine. I couldn’t decide which was less gay, me having a nocturnal emission over a carnivorous dinosaur, or me knowing that Ned did. I suppose eliminating the line altogether was out of the question.) Anyway, we had a school holiday coming up, so we decided to plan a little archaeological expedition of our own.

Ned and I stood at the gate that separated my backyard from the rest of the world and inhaled. Today was the day. We had loaded our backpacks with small garden spades, handheld picks, a claw hammer, and a broken nine iron. Our canteens were filled to the brim, and we had plenty of Acme bags so we could bring back our discoveries. My mom must have noticed us from her spot at the kitchen window.

MY MOM: Where are you two off to?
ME: We’re going down to the creek.
NED: We’re going to find dinosaur bones.
(I elbowed him)
MY MOM: Okay, have fun. Be careful.
ME: Okay, Mom.

A dry creek bed wound its way between our neighborhood and the local shopping center. Its primary function was to carry run-off down to where the actual creek flowed on the other side of the Bethlehem Pike overpass. Before today, Ned and I had never ventured to the other side of the overpass, content to throw rocks and frolic in the poison ivy on the dry side. But the dry side was never going to yield the fossils we were hunting today. We were positive of that.

The overpass formed a tunnel that may as well have separated Kansas from Oz. We proceeded slowly through the passage past piles of cans with strange names on them like Schlitz and Olde English 800. The walls of the tunnel were adorned with the primitive hieroglyphics of the teenagers who spent many an afternoon under there. We laughed at the paintings of penises and boobies, and before we knew what to make of the vaginas we were on the other side.

The dust and rocks of our familiar side were replaced with thick green vegetation, soft brown mud, and the rippling sound of the mighty Wissahickon Creek a mere hundred or so yards away. It even smelled different over here. We were only a few steps into this lush jungle when something caught Ned’s eye. He ran over to the bank, tore open his backpack and started digging in between the exposed roots of the trees that shaded the building on the street above. Within seconds he had loosened a bone from the dirt, spotted another, then another. Unable to believe our luck, our quick luck, I dropped my backpack and dug in.

We returned to my backyard by about one o’clock in the afternoon. Our biggest concern as we started assembling the six grocery bags full of bones into dinosaur-like skeletal structures was that they would spell our names right in the Social Studies textbook and World Book Encyclopedia. We divided the “fossils” into different categories; skulls went there, ribcages over there, and miscellaneous bones in yet another pile, then began the task of jigsaw puzzling them together. That’s when my mother came out.

MY MOM: The archaeologists re—
(Her voice trailed off)
ME: Isn’t it cool, Mom? Look at all the fossils we found.
MY MOM: Where exactly did you find all these fossils?

Ned and I explained how we had gone past the overpass, skipping the part about the hieroglyphics, and had started digging in the bank on the left hand side. A smile, mixed with revulsion played on her face. She knew exactly where we were.

MY MOM: Boys let me ask you, do those bones look like dinosaur bones to you?
ME: Sure.
MY MOM: That skull over there, it’s kind of small to be a dinosaur’s don’t you think?
ME: I guess.
MY MOM: Don’t you think it looks more like a cat’s skull? And doesn’t that one look more like a dog’s?
ME: I guess it could.
MY MOM: I don’t know how to tell you this guys, but the place where you were digging is right below the animal hospital, they must have buried the pets they couldn’t save in the back and you two dug them all up.
NED: We didn’t dig them all up. We were gonna go back on Saturday.
MY MOM: I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, do you?

We both agreed that it was probably not the best idea after all. We also agreed that it would probably be a good idea if we went in and washed our hands while my mom cleaned up the backyard. And all of a sudden, hot dogs didn’t sound like too appetizing of a lunch plan.

© copyright 2009 

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2 Responses to “Land Of The Lost”

  1. I am glad I found your blog, I will return.

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