The head paleontologist had the work crew haul the brontosaurus into one of the back rooms. “Thanks guys. Can you give us a few minutes here?”
As the crew filed out the dinosaur waited, and watched the scientist. Once they were alone she asked, “What’s going on, Doc?”
He cleared his throat. “I don’t know how to say this…you are a mistake. We classified you incorrectly, and made some wrong guesses about your skull. New research shows that you didn’t really exist.” He looked away, embarrassed. “I’m sorry.”
The brontosaurus told herself to be cool. Be cool. She tried to take a deep breath, but that doesn’t work when you’re just a collection of fossilized bones and a few bits of wire. No lungs.
“So, Doc, that just means you’ll revise me, make a few tweaks based on the new findings, right?” Be cool.
He sighed and took off his glasses. “I’m afraid that this is bigger than that. Brontosaurus is being written out of the books. You’re all really just Apatosauruses. It’s not just a simple adjustment.”
“Doc, I’m not just a dinosaur! I’m THE dinosaur! I represent the whole superorder in the public mind!” Her voice was beginning to sound frantic.
He smiled sadly. “Well, actually, I think that Tyrannosaurus Rex is what…”
“No! When people see a T-rex they say ‘Ooo, a T-rex’. Same thing for Stegosaurus.” She was panicking now. “But when people see me they say, ‘Ooo, a dinosaur!’. When kids draw a dinosaur, they draw me! When…”
He interrupted her, “I’m sorry. It’s out of my hands.” The work crew started coming back into the room. “There won’t be any pain. Goodbye.” He turned and left.
He was wrong. There was pain, but thankfully it was brief.
Oblivion doesn’t hurt.