I don't know what it is about dinosaurs, but I just love them.
I have been fascinated by the Jurassic critters for as long as I can remember.
Every time I saw a drawing of one, I always got this odd feeling inside. I am far from being a kid anymore, but I read a story about a huge water dinosaur that was just unveiled and I got the same feeling.
Perhaps I should have been a paleontologist instead of a newspaper guy.
Mind you, us newspaper guys are fast becoming dinosaurs as we are overtaken by the electronic age of presenting information.
It is not a meteorite that wiped out the newspaperguy-asaurus, it was a microchip.
Anyway, as a wee lad I just could not get enough of the ancient monsters.
Because in a way, that's what they were – real, live monsters.
Growing up, I had books on dinosaurs, life-like plastic dinosaurs and was (am) a fan of every movie ever made that includes a dinosaur.
I know the movies are not factually correct, but I am willing to over look that just for the chance to see a dinosaur moving and roaring.
However, as a kid all of my toy dinosaurs had to be factually accurate and a silly 'pretend' dinosaur would just not do.
Those dinosaurs usually ended up on the business end of my pellet gun. Which, I must admit, was pretty darn cool.
I would envision myself as being lost in time and having to battle my way past a hoard of gnashing teeth and flesh-ripping claws.
Of course the beasts always lost, and I was always the hero. Childish, I know, but give me a break, I was only 23.
Actually, I was around 10 years old when I got my first pellet gun and discovered the joys of shooting things – like rampaging dinosaurs.
But not the realistic dinosaurs. Those were far too important to fall to the projectile of my break-barrel air rifle.
I knew more about dinosaurs by Grade 5 than most kids would know in a lifetime. In fact, by Grade 6 my teachers forbade me from doing any more book reports on dinosaurs.
By high school, dinosaurs had been replaced by my other passion: motorcycles. I have loved motorcycles for as long as I loved dinosaurs.
Cars, girls, work, motorbikes, girls - all distracted me and my focus on dinosaurs faded into the far reaches of my mind – until my son got old enough to become interested in things and he became interested in dinosaurs.
I did not prompt him to want books and toys on the great beasts, he just gravitated to them on his own. I was one proud papa, and in my 30s I was once again laying on the living room floor playing with plastic dinosaurs.
Junior knew a lot about dinosaurs. He knew many of their names, what they ate and other vital information.
But he too grew out of the dino phase and the numerous plastic dinosaurs were relegated to a corner of his room where they waited to once again roam the earth.
They only had to wait a few years. A good friend of our had a son who was fascinated by dinosaurs to the point that was all he talked about, played with and drew.
This was my kind of little dude.
So I gathered up all the toy dinosaurs we had and, with the permission of Junior, gave them to our friend's little guy who looked like he had just won the lottery on Christmas Day as I handed him two bags full of the beasts.
Dinosaurs may be long gone, but they are definitely not forgotten.
Copyright 2014, Darren Handschuh