Safety first!

“There’s no accepted global policy on what to do about asteroid impacts.”

~ Rusty Schweickart

“Mum, can we have a dinosaur?”, he turns to me and asks.

“What do you mean?” I take another sip of my coffee and stroke his blond strands away from his eyes. They start tickling him, but he’s still determined to let them grow ‘like daddy’.

“Like, we have a dog, right? Can I have a dinosaur next?” He’s as serious as can be.

“Dumpling, I’m sorry to tell you, but dinosaurs are extinct.” Ah, the cruelty of the truth.

“What does that mean, extinct?” His big blue eyes hungry for knowledge.

“It means that they are all dead, they do not live anymore.”

“Like grandma’s dog?”

“Well, yes and no. See, grandma’s dog is dead, true. But dog’s in general still live. When something goes extinct, it means that none of it is left anymore.”

Silence.

“Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

“Yes.”

Silence.

He continues eating his breakfast. I let my mind wander and stare out the window.

“Whawthidheytie?”

“What’s that you say? I can’t understand a thing with your mouth so full.”

He chews and slugs down his cheese sandwich.

“How did they die?”, he repeats, now intelligibly.

I look at the husband.

“Meteorite?”, he suggests.

“Volcanos?”, I ask back.

“Ice age?”, the husband proposes.

“Sickness?”, I add.

“Acid rain?”, he continues.

“Huh?”, the son interrupts.

“There are a lot of theories… eh, ideas on how the dinosaurs died. It is believed that a meteorite – that is like a really big rock – fell from the sky and hit the earth.”

“It’s not allowed to throw with stones!”, the son protests.

“True that, dumpling. But there was no one who threw this stone. It just fell from the universe to the earth.”

“Throwing stones is dangerous!”, the son explains.

“That’s right. Well, and when this stone hit the earth it was like a really big bang, like the whole world was shaking and… ”

The son stands up and leaves the breakfast table.

“Don’t you wanna know anymore?”, I ask him befuddled.

“I already know everything. EVERYTHING! It was the dinosaurs’ own fault.”, he says conspiratorially.

“How so?”, the husband and I wonder.

“It’s simple. There are rocks flying around? Well, they should’ve worn helmets! Helmets!!! That’s what you always say when I want to ride my bike, mummy. ‘Safety first.’ With rocks flying around and such… their own fault for not putting on helmets.”

He walks of into his playroom and places his plastic Tarbosaurus on the red and yellow LEGO duplo motor bike.

“Should’ve worn helmets…”, he repeats once more as if to teach his Tarbosaurus.

 

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