My dinosaur

Earlier today, I found myself prostrate with guilt when I realized that, as a child, I had chosen a favorite dinosaur not because of the various innate qualities that might render one dinosaur more desirable or valuable than another but rather simply because of the way it looked. To be clear, my prostration was due largely to the fact that I was in bed when the guilt swept over me, and prostration is a common orientation for people who are in bed. But guilt I experienced nonetheless.

It doesn’t matter now which dinosaur was my favorite in 1967. The point is that I chose a favorite only based on how it looked. (“Neat” is the likeliest adjective, based on the era and how I tended to speak about things then.) I don’t recall giving any consideration to the dinosaur’s ability as a predator, or to its height, length or speed. I definitely didn’t take into account whether or not it had lips, because it was only a few minutes ago that I first encountered the question of dinosaur lips, by means of an entrancing article from the University of Toronto.

I think there is a lesson to be learned here about the way we assess the people we meet, about the tendency by some of us to judge others only by their outward appearance and not by the essential elements of humanity. Then again, I could be overthinking things.

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