I would have made a lousy cave man, as anyone who has ever...


June 06, 1993|By Michael Davis

I would have made a lousy cave man, as anyone who has ever seen me try to light the outdoor grill would attest.

It would have taken me an ice age to have discovered fire, and, by then, the ribs would have spoiled.

I can just see my Stone Age cookout now: our neighbors, Braak and Gork, patiently waiting 100 million years for dinner to be ready. My mate, Wilma, stomping around, threatening to give me a wood shampoo with her club unless I get some woolly mammoth on the table pronto. Me, stalling for time until the BIC Flic is invented.

Incendiary matters aside, I would have been a most reluctant hunter and gatherer, considering I've descended from generations of shoppers. Plus, I would have been freaked by any beasties leftover from the dino days, especially any leather-winged flying reptiles (that look like soaring needle-nose pliers with teeth).

Essentially, I would have been a cave potato. "Look what I've married!" my mate would have moaned. "Mister Cave Dweller! All we do around here is sit in this damp hole-in-the-wall and evolve!"

All of this to say, while I may be as fascinated by dinosaurs as the average preschooler, I'm very glad there are millions of years of distance between me and T. rex. And while I intend to see Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" this week, I may close my eyes during the scary parts. The little kids, of course, will be squealing with delight and spraying JuJuBees around the theater.

Which brings us to the question behind today's cover story: How is it that you can't get the average 4-year-old to say "please" and "thank you" but, get him on the topic of dinosaurs, and he can deliver 90-minute lectures on which creatures from the Jurassic Age were carnivores and which ones mixed in a salad every now and again?

The answer begins on Page 8.

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