Once upon a time there was a big angry dinosaur named King Dump. King Dump was a T-Rex, which meant he had a big body and a big head, but small hands and a small brain.
King Dump had oodles of money because his father Dump Senior had had oodles of money. The Dumps owned restaurants and gas stations and buses and towers and hotels and golf courses, (but mainly hotels and golf courses.) King Dump made so much money that one day he decided to be king. Being a Dump, he became king.
All kings have lands that they’re the kings of. King Dump had Dinosaur Land. Many of you know that at that time, millions of years ago, the continents weren’t separated. They were all stuck together like a big ball of playdough so you could travel from Timbuktu to Alaska just by walking if you wanted.
Which is what all the dinosaurs did, many many many years ago. They walked past oceans and mountains and volcanoes and tar pits, eventually ending up in Dinosaur Land.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right to be thinking it.
Back then Dinosaur Land wasn’t what it is today. It had the most food and the most jobs and it was the safest place in the whole world for a dinosaur to live.
And so yellow dinosaurs and red dinosaurs and green dinosaurs and purple dinosaurs and orange dinosaurs and big dinosaurs and short dinosaurs and dinosaurs that roared and dinosaurs that squeaked and dinosaurs that flew and dinosaurs that hid in the bushes and clever dinosaurs and dinosaurs with pea brains, like King Dump and all the Dumps before him, lived together happily ever after.
Until one day, when Dinosaur Land didn’t have very many jobs left and it had become a pretty dangerous place to live.
On that day, King Dump made a decree. From that day forth, the pea-brained Dump roared, only dinosaurs beginning with the letter T would be allowed to live in Dinosaur Land.
Of course, that meant T-Rexes certainly.
Can you think of any other dinosaurs that began with a T?
Well, King Dump let them stay too.
It wasn’t long before Dinosaur Land became a truly horrible place.
It wasn’t just that the T-Rexes passed a lot of smelly gas and ate each other when they got hungry.
Or that the Torvosauruses were great thieves and stole anything they saw.
Or even that the Thesclerosauruses had a name that was too difficult to say.
After all, there were more jobs and more food and in general a lot more space for the dinosaurs to move around in.
It was that without all the other dinosaurs Dinosaur Land was boring.
Without the Ankylosauruses, who were gifted carpenters and designers, all the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Land had to buy their furniture from King Dump’s private furniture company.
Without the Stegosauruses, who were great comedians, there were no funny jokes. Just King Dump, who wasn’t funny at all.
Without the Spinosauruses there was no singing or dancing.
Without the Pterodactyls, who actually had a “p” in their name, there was no flying.
Without the Diplodocuses there were no wise decisions.
Without the Iguanodons there were no good stories.
In general, life without the colorful dinosaurs of Dinosaur Land was flat and colorless. Of course, there were many more jobs and much more food, as I said, but no one wanted to work or eat. They were much too bored for that.
Dump, that pea-brained king, decided wisely something had to be done.
King Dump’s idea was simple.
Dump liked TV and he liked stories, even if he couldn’t tell very good ones.
He decided to have a storytelling contest on TV and it would go like this:
One dinosaur from every dinosaur family would come onto Dump’s TV program and tell a story. The dinosaurs who told the best stories would be allowed to come back and live in Dinosaur Land together with their children and grandparents and cousins and even their best friends and dogs.
There was one more rule.
Because King Dump liked nothing better than to talk about his family— who had come to Dinosaur Land long ago before anyone else, having walked past oceans and mountains and volcanoes and tar pits—the theme of all the dinosaur stories was just that: a story about their families.
“Let’s make Dinosaur Land great again,” Dump said from his throne.
No one saw him for the next three weeks.
Well, can you imagine what happened? When all the dinosaurs in the world got together to tell stories?
Yes, it was a very long evening.
The Apatosaurus told a story about her family—purple and green giants—who had lumbered for months past oceans and mountains and volcanoes and tar pits to build the first railroads in Dinosaur Land, which the dinosaurs of Dinosaur Land use to this day. The Apatosauruses had been in Dinosaur Land so long, some of them, that they no longer even spoke Apatosaur, only T-Rexese.
The Brachiosaur, who was smaller and mostly brown but sometimes yellow, told the story of his family, who had walked a little quicker past the same oceans and mountains and volcanoes and tar pits before they arrived in Dinosaur Land and became excellent doctors and surgeons.
Then went the Allosaur, then the Velociraptor, then the Stegosaurus and even the Gigantosaurus, who had a tiny bird-brain like King Dump, but came from a long line of lifeguards and generals.
All the dinosaurs’ stories were the same: they had all come to Dinosaur Land from far far away a long long time ago and started their lives over again there.
King Dump was very pleased with the dinosaurs’ stories. He watched from his throne, sitting in his bathrobe, sipping Cognac. King Dump even sent a message to the dinosaurs from his phone:
“Look at how many people are listening to my stories! I’m very proud of me!”
Which is the point when the dinosaurs became very very angry.
Not all the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Land (or all the ones who had been tossed out) had little tiny brains and hands like King Dump. Many understood that it was the king himself who had made Dinosaur Land such a boring place by filling it with pea-brained, farting T-Rexes and a few others. They understood that it was the king himself who had kicked everyone else out.
But that wasn’t all they learned.
The dinosaurs of Dinosaur Land realized that night that every dinosaur in Dinosaur Land had once come from a different place long ago. They realized that even if they were different colors on the outside, their stories were all the same.
And they got very very very mad.
Do you know what happens when dinosaurs get mad?
It was decided by the dinosaurs of Dinosaur Land that very evening that Dump would no longer be their king.
King Dump was rich, yes, and he was big and strong, yes, and he had a terrible roar for a voice, but, as everyone knew, he was about as clever as a small bird and couldn’t balance very well with his tiny little hands.
King Dump was given two choices. He could either jump into a volcano or host his own TV show.
Dump chose to host his own TV show.
Even though Dump wanted nothing more than to boss people around on his show, shouting at them and making them feel little, he was instead forced to listen to their stories.
Which he did.
Until his two very big pea-brained sons took over the family business and there was trouble in Dinosaur Land once again.