The ageism that permeates our society--evidenced by words like "dinosaur," "fossil," and "old school"--are assumed to be pejoratives. I take that as a challenge, and have appropriated these slurs to combat age discrimination. We can transform the cultural landscape by proclaiming our prehistoric values as good and worthy of preservation.
When I see children march to school every morning, donning the always-too-big backpack, they’re also carrying another piece of gear—the mesmerizing mobile device. They hardly see the sidewalk right in front of them.
Even as they walk among the palms and sea grape trees, the occasional iguana or tegu darting into a nearby bush, the wiseacre mockingbird overhead, they’re somewhere else. (Yes, the Founding Fossil is back in Florida for a while.)
I can’t even imagine what messages are captivating them. Perhaps, they’re also worrying about the big test that day. But something else, something insidious, is claiming their minds.
I’m disturbed by what they’re missing—Be Here Now!—and frustrated that I can’t pull them aside and offer some grandmotherly advice: You only have this moment once.
Any utterance would likely be disregarded, as my gray-haired visage renders me invisible. The schoolchildren may be too young to consider the millennial “OK, Boomer” put-down, now rampant in this culture, but I know it’s coming.
Because I am a dinosaur. I graduated from the Old School. And I'm invisible.
As many of you Fellow Fossils are aware, a few years ago I realized that I was that so-called reptilian when I saw how many adults were experiencing life through their phones, whether walking about New York City, where I also have a home, strolling through a museum, or visiting a place of natural beauty. It troubled me to see how devices are essentially running our lives, especially for the Millennials.
I responded with a call to action: it was time to embrace my inner dinosaur and wear it on my sleeve or jacket or hat, as the case may be. When I considered how my Old School standards—being mindful rather than swept away by a barrage of digital noise—were being upended by this new culture, I became adamant that these values must endure.
So I decided to create a line of sterling silver brooches to signify my dinosaur status, Exquisite Eons®. By wearing a dino pin, modeled after the actual creature you might encounter during the Mesozoic Era, you outwardly vote to preserve old-school skills, like communication and social niceties—thank-you notes! (in cursive, of course)—and meeting friends over coffee for conversation. This visual cue suggests that we maintain “old media” like newspapers and books, all being lost to an ethos that prioritizes the taking of selfies more than, say, understanding history.
There's another aspect to all this, and that's the ageism that permeates our society. Words like "dinosaur," "fossil," and "old school" are assumed to be pejoratives. I took that as a challenge, and appropriated these slurs to protest age discrimination. We can transform the cultural landscape by proclaiming our prehistoric values--and beautifully, might I add--by wearing an Exquisite Eons® brooch (or a Be Positively Prehistoric® T-shirt, available on this website).
Now that I’ve got fewer years ahead of me than behind, Exquisite Eons® has become my mission—designed to inspire a social movement (among Boomers and even Millennials, if they put their smartphones down for a moment) and make visible our dino pride. We’re not Luddites and don’t reject technology. But we should cherish the real over the virtual. And that is the essence of the Exquisite Eons® experience, Be Positively Prehistoric®.