Yesterday, when I went down to the drug store to buy up a cassette tape, I also picked up a free little coloring book offered by the pharmacy as a way to warn kids about the dangers of poisons in the household. I’m glad to see the pharmacy taking such pains to keep kids safe, but I was struck by the form in which it did so.
The coloring book features a character named Timmy the Dinosaur, who wants to tell kids about the dangers of poisions. We don’t know where this dinosaur came from or why he is so interested in talking to kids about poisons. He just shows up and starts talking to kids about things that in their homes that, if they eat them, can kill them. Friendly.
I understand that kids are drawn to the concept of talking animals, but there’s something I don’t get about the choice of a dinosaur as a cartoon spokescreature to children about how to stay alive. Dinosaurs are extinct, see. All of them.
So, if I were to pick a animal to preach to kids about how to stay alive, it wouldn’t be a dinosaur. You might as well make a dodo bird an instructor in survival techniques. What extinct animals can teach us best is how not to follow their example, and in doing so, stay alive.
So, maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s what Timmy, the sole-surviving dinosaur on Earth, wants to tell us. It wasn’t the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. It was household poisons. Back 65 million years ago, dinosaur parents just didn’t know enough to put childproof caps on their bottles of medications… and they all died!
Thanks for the heads up, Timmy.