16 June 2008
My Triumph Over the T-Rex
Lately I’ve been having a run of dinosaur nightmares. I tend to get these whenever I watch any dinosaur based movie, namely Jurassic Park, or whenever dinosaurs are brought up in conversation or whenever I eat at a diner. I’m dinosaur sensitive, one might say. I just don’t like them.
And as if the fact that they used to exist weren’t bad enough, the mere suggestion that they could one day be cloned and live again is just too much for me to bear.
And I suppose also somewhere in the back of my mind is the notion that if “God” did indeed create us in His image, that this was only after his first project failed. After the Giant Flesh-Eating Lizard experiment didn’t work out we were, it seems, merely Plan B.
So along with my fear of clowns and flying, I live with a mind-numbing aversion to dinosaurs, and in particular T-rexes.
I am constantly on the lookout for cures for my phobias, and one method I believe wholeheartedly in is the immersion theory. I once was cured of my fear of heights by having a bunch of people hold on to my legs while I hung backwards over the edge of the cliff. Incidentally, this also cured me of my fear of Strange New Age People. So when I saw that Jurassic Park was going to be on television the other night, I thought it might be a good idea if I made myself watch it. It didn’t work. It only made things worse. It made me feel so creepy that I was actually checking for dinosaurs behind the couch cushions (stop looking for rationality in any of this or you’ll just hurt yourself), and that night I had a nightmare that a friend of mine had cloned a T-rex and needed me to babysit it while he was out of town.
The nightmare was so vivid that I actively resented my friend for several days afterwards and a part of me is still convinced that a baby T-Rex is sitting with him watching TV in LA right now.
So as TV stations tend to do these things in clusters, the same station that had shown Jurassic Park the other night then a few days later decided to show The Lost World (Jurassic Park II). I took this as a sign that I should continue my therapy and I watched it.
Read no more if you’re like me and don’t tend to see films until several decades after they’ve come out.
Well I hadn’t seen The Lost World before, but the basic premise was that a bunch of freaks return to the breeding island for the original J-Park and there are these hunters who cause all sorts of mayhem (I always approve when hunters of any sort are shown in the bad light they deserve). From what I can tell, The J-Park series operates on the same premise as all Ghost Movies. That is to say that people do what THEY WOULD NEVER DO IN REAL LIFE and spend the night in the house that everyone says is the gateway to hell even though everyone who stays there becomes possessed and goes on murderous rampages. Only in this case they return to an island with dinosaurs and an almost 100 per cent kill rate and decide to camp out for a while. “Everything will be fine,” They think as they pitch their tents, “because where the big flesh-eating monsters live is half a kilometer away and they never come here.” ..................Morons!!
Then of course the Big Game Hunters come, looking for the most ostentatious trophy imaginable to mount on their wall (What kind of furniture goes with a giant T-Rex head mounted on a mahogany panel?)
They take a baby T-Rex (and I struggle psychologically while that pulls on my heartstrings) to bait Mr. and Mrs. Rex, and after the now predictable tousles with velociraptors (who are thwarted by a child gymnast…I’m not making this up.) they all end up on the civilized mainland where the male T-Rex gets loose. At this point the film is not so much a monster movie as it is Kramer vs. Kramer as the daddy T-Rex runs all over town trying to get his son back. I ended up siding with the T-Rex, which while perhaps not boding well for Mr. Spielberg, did wonders for my Dinosaur Paranoia. By the end of the film I just wanted the T-Rex to eat the guy who started all the trouble and return home with his kid and that’s exactly what happened.
And that night I slept like a baby.
So, it seems that the cure for a fear of dinosaurs is not a Dinosaur movie so much as a really bad dinosaur movie. Waterworld might be just the ticket for Hydrophobia is what I’m saying.