“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I was six years old. My grandmother and I were sitting together on her elaborately-knit chenille couch graced by a parade of stuffed animals, dinosaur action figures, and matchbox cars. I replied matter-of-factly, “I want to be a paleontologist.”

​The whites of my grandmother’s eyes grew to the size of golf balls and her head cocked back. “A what? You want to be a what?”

​“A paleontologist,” I said. I retrieved a pinky-sized velociraptor figurine leaning over the leg of its comparatively titanic companion, a Build-a-Bear tiger named Jack. This…

Victor Schmitt-Bush

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