My Favorite Fossil


“Sorry, little guy…”

I had to apologize for setting my coffee cup down on my oldest friend’s face.

I have not known Oscar for long, but he is my oldest friend.

Not quite sure how old… but scientists figure somewhere between 50 million and 59 million years.

Most of that time, he has been entombed in the block of sandstone that rests on my desk (still that doesn’t excuse me for clunking his head with a mug of coffee.)

So here I am writing about him. I can’t explain exactly why. I mean why I write, not necessarily why I write about Oscar. This week he is just something to write about.

Perhaps we write to leave a little something of ourselves – beyond ourselves. We could write just for our self but we don’t often do that. We write for others in the vain hope that at least a few of them will get a little enjoyment out of it before they go back to doing whatever it is they do.

And in that sense, we become more than ourselves.

It is what a lot of people do. They acquire a skill or master an art, so that someone, somewhere might say, “hey, look at that!” and they can blush with pride.

Some take it to extremes. They build skyscrapers. They create empires. They have their image carved into stone and mounted on a marble pedestal – all to become known and in some sense become a bit immortal.

But then there is Oscar. He is about as close to immortal as you can get.

50 million years ain’t shabby.

And Oscar did not have to become an Aristotle or a Renoir or even a Saddam Hussein to do it.

All he had to do is go about his business.

I suppose Oscar proves that you don’t have to be much to amount to much and that try as you might, it might just be some little thing that you do in the course of a day that makes you become known to the ages.

Hopefully, it is something creative or kind – but for Oscar, all he had to do…. was get his head stuck in the sand.