2018-01-28 / Family

Just what the doctor ordered — silliness

By JANINE TALBOT
Columnist

Last Saturday morning, Spouse asked me if we had any plans for the day. Other than the dreaded weekend chores of laundry and grocery shopping, I had a blank slate.

“Are you interested in that dinosaur thing?”

I knew what ‘that dinosaur thing’ was and, no, I wasn’t particularly interested when he first mentioned it. But temps for the day were turning out to be pleasant by Maine standards in January, and I knew after being cooped up in an office all week, the fresh air would not kill me. In fact, lack of fresh air might. I somewhat begrudgingly agreed to get out of my yoga pants (I had actually gone to yoga that morning) and into being-seen-in-public clothes. Second Born joined us as we headed toward Dinosaur Destination, a/k/a Monument Square in Portland.

Was I really doing this? Why was I doing this? Sometimes I ask myself too many questions when the answer simply needs to be – just because.

The dinosaur thing had started out as a suggestion by two young women who were both owners of inflatable t-rex getups. Feeling isolated in their passion for putting on the ritz – I mean, rex – the two young women used social media to call for other dinosaur costume wearers to hit the city in their gargantuan garb. It had become a local radio, newspaper and television story. Word spread and responses started coming in from around Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. There would be a t-rex trek and everyone was invited to check it out.

We parked a couple of blocks away from we-weren’t-sure-what, and for a brief moment I was afraid the whole thing was a bust when we didn’t spot many others walking toward Monument Square. As we rounded the corner, you couldn’t help but spot the bulging brown shells and big mouths of several inflatable dinosaurs.

Dozens of chubby little legs were stomping on tails. Tiny t-rex arms flailed at nothing, mainly because they couldn’t reach past their bulgy bodies.

Parents didn’t even pretend not to be enthralled with the aura of awkwardness, as their children stared and pointed and laughed, and a few clung tighter to an accompanying adult. Someone with a microphone called out for a dino-dance to YMCA. The most hysterical thing about a t-rex dancing to YMCA is that you can’t tell they’re dancing. Everything they do looks the same, like they’re swatting at a fly and trying not to trip over their own tails.

It was one of the most ridiculous spectacles we had ever seen. We loved it.

We were surrounded by smiles, selfies and silliness. Grownups made room for youngsters seeking a closer look, as well as dinosaurs descending from every direction to join in the fun. It was a heartwarming event that I almost missed because it had sounded too ridiculous to attend. It was, in truth, the perfect amount of ridiculousness. As a woman standing next to me commented to her partner, “We needed this.”

Oh yes, we did. We all do. We need to remember to have fun, and to make our own fun. We need to acknowledge that silliness isn’t just for kids, and that laughter truly is good for the soul. We need to have jokes to share, like giggling about the reactions of visitors to Portland who were unexpectedly faced with a dinosaur invasion.

It was good that Spouse suggested something a little unusual, and that I forgot about what ‘had’ to get done so we could share an afternoon of absurdity. Through winter weather, long work hours and a government shutdown, we certainly could use an excuse to smile. Laughter may not solve all our problems, but it’s still the best medicine.

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