As a child, I had an obsession with dinosaurs and the prehistoric world. It likely was triggered by seeing Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster in the theater and watching B-movies on late-night television in the ’70s.
It’s why I still pause, as I did the other night, when I stumble upon Jurassic Park.
I can’t help but think that had that movie arrived a decade or so earlier, I might have ended up a paleontologist.
I dug Sam Neill’s style as Dr. Alan Grant.
He had a groovy hat.
His work attire was well within my sartorial range.
He spent his days under expansive skies in the Badlands, digging about in the dirt, searching for the fossils and bones of fantastic creatures.
Yes, I think that I’d enjoy the paleontological lifestyle. It seems to be relatively uncomplicated.
(at least until some well-intending, yet short-sighted, billionaire industrialist recegenrates velociraptors)
Not being a homeowner or an escaped convict, it’s been awhile since I’ve had to dig. In fact, I don’t recall digging for any reason – for bait, for treasure, to bury a drifter – since before I left for college.
(where I, unwisely, didn’t study paleontology)
I’m confident that – thanks to a pop-up book I had when I was five and late-night movies – I know enough to recognize dinosaur bones should I happen upon some.
Surely leading the life of a paleontologist can’t be as simple as getting a pick, a shovel, and a floppy hat and moving to Southern Utah.
Maybe all of the really cool dinosaur bones have been dug up.
Then again, perhaps paleontology is as straightforward as finding a plot of earth and digging until you hit T. Rex remains or China. You either end up on the National Geographic channel or causing an international incident.
So, I might soon suggest to Paloma that we pack up the Volvo, load up the cats, and head westward.
In the meantime, here are four songs to get us aspiring diggers in the mood…
Peter Gabriel – Digging In The Dirt
Despite a great affection for Peter Gabriel’s music, his leisurely pace in releasing new albums has caused me to lose track of him over the nearly two decades since he released Us.
(which arrived a mere six years after the commercially successful So)
I much preferred the emotionally gripping Us and the brooding Digging In The Dirt might make a swell theme song for a freelance paleontologist.
(plus, seeing Gabriel on the ensuing Us tour might be the highlight of my concert-going life)
The Pixies – Dig For Fire
from Death To The Pixies
Though The Pixies were poster children for the burgeoning alternative rock movement that took place while I was in college, I had little more than a passing interest in the band. Why I’m not sure as I quite like much of their catalog.
(Paloma would likely put them high on her list of favorites)
Dig For Fire has been described by lead singer Black Francis as an homage to Talking Heads and the catchy track does possess the latter act’s jittery, stutter-step spirit.
The Who – Dig
from The Iron Man: The Musical By Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend’s adaptation of a children’s story was released while I was studying in Southeast Asia, leading to several confusing exchanges with shopkeepers as I attempted to find a copy…
me: “Pete Townshend of The Who…”
me: “Yeah, The Who…”
The album, despite guest appearances by everyone from John Lee Hooker to Nina Simone, wasn’t worth the effort of acquiring it. It did feature two new songs by The Who – the first since the band’s first farewell with It’s Hard in ’82 – including an ill-advised cover of Arthur Brown’s Fire.
But I dug Dig and, though it’s hardly a Who classic, the repetitive use of the title does make me want to pick up a shovel.
Blondie – Dig Up The Conjo
from No Exit
So, I’m a bit confused by Dig Up The Conjo, from Blondie’s 1999 reunion album No Exit.
It sounds as though the band is imploring me to “dig up the Congo,” which would be ambitious as the Congo River is the deepest river in the world.
But, “conjo” is apparently a Spanish insult.
Of course, Blondie was often lyrically nonsensical, so perhaps my confusion is justifiable, but I thought No Exit was a strong return for Blondie (after a seventeen-year hiatus) and Dig Up The Conjo is dense, swirling, and hypnotic.