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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 32 page 06


“We have perpetrated dangerous dinosaurial interference with the ground stuff system,” says another speaker as the symposium rolls on. Oh croc, is “dinosaurial” even a word? But there is no argument, no great debate. I guess the tide of opinion has turned, the question is tasted and swallowed, and dinos now favour the proposal that something has to be done to control the land and to get a hold on the weather. Heavy Tail, however, isn’t buying it.

“Trying to get hold of the weather,” Heavy Tail says, as we slip to the side for a smoke, “is like trying to organise the running four-legged river crossings at arrangements of our own croc choosing. Like trying to even them out across the seasons. It would be lovely, and it would be better for everyone. But it can’t be done. The running four-legged come in running four-legged time.”

On day three, the greatly anticipated Polluters Punishment Program, commonly known as the Three Ps Initiative, is presented to great applause. Removing these polluting renegades — these aberrations, the speaker calls them — from our stomping grounds will set us free. There is no argument.

It hasn’t always been so congenial, there wasn’t always such easy agreement. Initially only the irritable and loose-minded gave the matter a push — you know the type of dino I mean, the kind who get agitated about stuff that doesn’t really matter and nobody else wants to bother about, the kind who think too much and talk too much, the kind who love a banner and a march, the kind who protest. The big players didn’t entertain these activities and, well, dinos don’t like troublemakers. Dinos have learned that the world is an easier place when there is consensus and agreement bound to the application of intelligent theory and arrangement. Dinos feel good at understanding that and feel good for being part of it.

But gradually more and more young dinos went with the our-land-is-changing theme and it gathered wind. And as young dinos became big dinos, suddenly everyone had a view on this matter and had something to say about it and it took over. And now only the loonies have something to say against it. And the big players don’t entertain dispute. They don’t like loonies, so none of those were invited. So the direction changed but, as before, dissenters were dropped as dinos don’t like troublemakers because the world is an easier place when there is consensus and agreement. Some things don’t change, even with change. We crocs think it’s kind of funny. Dinos have facts that they can get their big dino heads around and feel included. And we crocs know that dinos get right happy at understanding that and stand taller for being part of it. Dinos love solutions that offer dino-feel-good. Solutions mean dinos are in control, that dinos matter, that dinos make the difference. So dinos don’t want to know that their speculations are deductions from detail, and that detail is just a glance, a shallow glance, because that’s all dinos can see. It is theory, no matter how sensible and good the logic, and no matter the degree of agreement, it is theory built on assumption, and it is assumption built on what is known, and dinos know almost nothing about everything. The whole damn thing could be right, and the whole damn thing could be wrong. But we crocs keep our big mouths shut, because dinos don’t want to hear that.

The symposium clearing has placards and posters around the perimeter: Together is Better—Together is Strong, We Can Work it Out, Be Good to the Land and the Land Will Be Good to You, and so on.