Two New Hampshire State Representatives and one State Senator have sponsored a bill that could significantly affect the future of our state.
The impact of what this bill could mean if passed would be felt from here on through eternity. It is that important and I feel that it must not be taken lightly and needs to be discussed further before it becomes official.
Of course, I am talking about House Bill 113 which reads “The giant mastodon, Mammut americanum, is hereby designated as the official state fossil of New Hampshire.”
At first, you may read that and say to yourself: “This may be the stupidest thing I will hear all year and it is only January.” I can understand such a response. After all, what if we make the mastodon our official state fossil and then, somewhere down the road, someone unearths the fossil of a giant mammoth here in the state? Boy, wouldn’t we feel dumb? There would be no taking it back then and we and future generations of Granite Staters would have to live with the embarrassment of having the mastodon as our state fossil while the whole time the mammoth would be the elephant in the room.
That is why, if we are to have a state fossil, we need to make sure that it is something that we know is going to be a sure thing.
First we need to define what a fossil is. The dictionary has a few definitions. One, of course, is “a remnant, impression, or trace of an organism of past geologic ages that has been preserved in the earth’s crust” which would obviously signify a mastodon or mammoth (or maybe the yearly casino bill Repeatum Adnaseum that always comes up for a vote).
But there are other definitions that we have to consider as well. One reads: “A person whose views are outmoded.” (A good example of this can be a state legislator who has been in office for way too long Wornum Outwelcomeum and keeps introducing old legislation over and over again, like, say, the casino bill.)
Another definition of fossil is: “Something that has become rigidly fixed.” (See above.)
So, you see, a fossil doesn’t necessarily have to be a thing like a mastodon which could later come back to embarrass us if a mammoth shows up, it can be a person or an idea whose time has passed. If we were to name the latter things as our state fossil they could never come back to embarrass us because by giving them that designation, we have declared that we are already embarrassed (if you get my drift).
Maybe we could declare that “all bills that waste time and money to declare something or other as the official state something or other are hereby designated as the state fossils.”
Of course, those who truly want the mastodon to be the state fossil over anything else will do all in their power to see that it happens. I understand that the mastodon lobby is very powerful. To see those high-powered lobbyists lurking about the halls of the state house, dressed like Fred, and Wilma, Flintstone is sure to grab the attention and votes of more than a few of the easily persuadable representatives. A few “Yabba Dabba Dos” and the lobbyist will have them eating out of their outstretched hands.
Perhaps they may even use the old “little kids and puppy dogs” scam, bringing in fifth graders from a local school to tell those in the house and senate how important it is for the mastodon to be the state fossil. After all, it worked for the pumpkin as the state fruit. (How soon we forget!)
There will be a lot of back and forth over this state fossil thing and it is important that we get it correct. All the other legislation that will come up this session: taxes, Medicaid, more things that you can’t do while sitting in your car, etc…will be things that can always be changed down the road if we get it wrong. But figuring out what should be the state fossil, or the state anything for that matter, should really take all the resources we have at the state house. If we get that wrong, there is no turning back.
No matter what the decision as to the state fossil, be it the mastodon or the mammoth, the casino bill or even a state lawmaker who has been in Concord way too long and has forgotten the real reason he or she is there, I will accept it, as long as it is given the careful consideration it deserves.
Let’s just hope all involved do the right thing.