I am pretty dumb about a lot of things. When it comes to vehicles or appliances, I need my husband. When it comes to computer technology beyond the basics, I need my fourteen-year-old daughter. When it comes to the chickens living in our backyard, I need my twelve-year-old to show me what to do with them. I don’t keep up with all the world news or celebrity news or business trends. But one thing I do know is this: dinosaurs and humans did not interact. I would have guessed, with 100% certainty, the average adult in the U.S. knew this to be true.
Excuse me, it’s hard to laugh and type at the same time.
Like many families who enjoy the outdoors, my husband and I took our children to a corn maze at Liberty Mills Farm in Somerset, VA. Each year they have a different theme depicted in their four different mazes, various levels of difficulty. This year’s theme was dinosaurs! We chose the second easiest maze, the one where you find fifteen questions posted along the course. You answer the questions with multiple choice answers as you fill out your postcard’s crossword puzzle. At the end, if your card is filled out correctly, you get a candy. The questions were all about dinosaurs, a few about the Jurassic Park, and most had ridiculous answers so it was easy to use the principle of deduction to figure out what was correct, if you didn’t know a whole lot about dinosaurs. Only one question made us have to Google the answer on my phone—we didn’t know “stego” (as in Stegosaurus) meant “roof.” But hey, we’re a little smarter now.
We arrived at Question #6 just behind a mother and her daughter (maybe 12-years old), so we had no choice but to listen as they contemplated the answer to a baffling question.
The current leading theory on why dinosaurs went extinct is:
- Civil War
- Asteroid Impact
- Global Warming
All jokes aside (for a minute—if you can stand it; if you can’t, by all means let it out), this woman and her daughter were considering humans or global warming, the mother having immediately scoffed at the asteroid theory. She even provided sound justification to her decision when she said, “Well, humans are obnoxious.”
My eight-year-old was quite amused that my two oldest daughters and I had to sneak around a few turns of the corn maze, then crouch down amidst the corn stalks to laugh hysterically. My husband, perhaps more intrigued at this phenomenon and able to refrain from laughing, lingered just one row away from the poor woman to make sure she got the right answer (her daughter did—perhaps she remembered something from an obscure source of knowledge, like elementary school). To our good fortune, whenever we saw this woman throughout the corn maze, we quietly referred to her as “Human Lady,” and a fresh batch of giggles would ensue. She might have referred to us as the Giggly Family, which I would happily allow and encourage. Especially since the giggles haven’t stopped.
I’ve had more time to think about this interesting example of ignorance, and I find it rather sad. It forces me to acknowledge that there are people out in the world who don’t ask questions, don’t contemplate or process information, don’t pay attention, perhaps never went to a museum to think beyond “that looks cool,” and maybe, (and most likely), just don’t care. I suppose information that doesn’t affect your everyday life isn’t important to some people. They couldn’t be bothered with how humans fit into the grand scheme of earth’s history. They really couldn’t be bothered with those big, old lizards that once upon a time walked the earth and were cool enough to make some big budget movies out of. Those guys are extinct now anyway, not affecting the economy or politics or interrupting Wi-Fi connections and cell towers. And, hey, even if they were still around at the arrival of apelike beings who walked on two feet, surely humans could force them into extinction.
After all, we’re pretty obnoxious.