Thursday, April 28, 2005

I’m a Little Skeptical About Having My Picture Taken in the Mouth of This Enormous Prehistoric Crocodile

Gentlemen, up until a few days ago, we didn’t even know these things still existed. They were the stuff of history, of nightmares, and at best were indistinct images floating from the primordial mist through our collective unconscious.

Then, all of a sudden, some fisherman illegally trawling the Nile dredges one up and you want me and my fellow scientists to pose in its mouth? Look, I want a flashy photograph to record this historic event too, but I’m a little skeptical about having my picture taken in the mouth of this enormous prehistoric crocodile.

I know, I know: the public has a right to have this momentous occasion immortalized, and I understand that this behemoth has been heavily and professionally sedated. But on average, these monsters have 108 bone-crushing, 5-inch-long teeth. This particular specimen weighs three tons and is almost 28-feet-long. Of all the ways I can think of dying, I doubt there is an experience filled with more shattering pain and primal fear than being ripped apart by one of these ancient devils.

Look at his eye, that even now watches us! It’s the size of my fist! That’s insane.

Sir, I am a herpetologist. Dr. Sanderson is a paleontologist and Dr. Ponge is a biologist. I don’t think anywhere on any of our diplomas or curricula vitae will you find the phrase “alligator wrestler,” “dinosaur tussler” or “batshit crazy enough to step inside the gaping maw of a water-dragon sent from the past to cast our world into utter confusion.”

OK, Edward R. Murrow—then why don’t you get in there? I didn’t think so.

Still, that doesn’t solve your problem, gentleman. We’re all reasonable: we want what’s best for all the parties involved, and we want a quick resolution. Am I right? Then let me offer this suggestion:

I’ll need all of you to turn around and gaze penetratingly into the African horizon that lies far behind you while my fellow scientists and I use the momentary distraction to run like hell in the opposite direction.


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