5832 AD

At a pastoral university lying far above the ancient ruins of New York City, a respected old professor sits in his office.  All of a sudden, a young archaeologist rushes in clutching a bag.

Archaeologist: Sir, I think you'll want to see this.  We uncovered it at a dig site nearby yesterday.

The archaeologist reaches into his bag and pulls out a number of worn, dirty DVD Box sets.  He places them on the desk. 

Professor: What am I looking at here?

Archaeologist: They're called "DVDs," sir.  They were used many thousands of years ago to record information. 

Professor: And what is this red and gold symbol I see on all of them?

Archaeologist: That, sir, is what makes this find so important.  We believe these "DVDs" were all manufactured by a collection of archivists and scholars calling themselves the "History Channel." 

Professor: Does that mean…

Archaeologist: Yes, these boxes hold within them the complete record of the people who once lived in this land.  Their "history" right here for us to see!  I don't need to tell you, professor, just how important this find is to understanding the people we call the American Ancients.

Professor: This…this is incredible.  What have you managed to learn of the ancients?

Archaeologist: It's very interesting.  Look at this…

The archaeologist picks up a "Nostradamus Effect" DVD

Archaeologist: The American Ancients put a lot of stock in the predictions of this man, Nostradamus.

Professor: He was their leader, then?  A mystic, perhaps?

Archaeologist: No, he was a man who lived many centuries before the Americans and made vague predictions about the future.  For some reason, though, the American Ancients bent his flimsy predictions to explain the recent events in their world. 

Professor: Incredible.  A society advanced enough to produce these "DVDs" yet still superstitious enough to believe the ravings of a man who lived hundreds of year earlier. 

Archaeologist: That's not all, we also uncovered this…  

The archaeologist holds up a "MonsterQuest" DVD.

Archaeologist: This find suggests that the American Ancients spent much time and money searching for the mythical beasts spoken of in their folklore.  See here: Megashark, Sasquatch, Supercroc…

Professor: Perhaps, sir, this is some sort of a farce?

Archaeologist: I wish it were, sir, but based on the translations on the DVD box, it appears that they took this very seriously and considered the search for these beasts a quest of the utmost importance.  The DVD bears the mark of the History Channel, after all…

Professor: No, you are right, it's just interesting that a society so advanced in manufacture, engineering and technology could put such stock in imaginary beings. 

Archaeologist: Well, what is even more baffling was this last part of the find. Look here.

The archaeologist holds up DVDs of "Ax Men," "Ice Road Truckers" and "Pawn Stars."


Archaeologist: These DVDs show actual American Ancients engaged in what we believe to be their three most important industries: logging, driving trucks on ice and the operations of a particular pawn shop in the ancient city of Las Vegas. 

Professor: Incredible.

Archaeologist: Indeed.  My team and I have determined that logging – the cutting down of trees for use in building – was an essential part of their society, as many of their dwellings and possessions were made of wood. 

Professor: Yes, of course.

Archaeologist: But my team and I have failed to grasp why driving on ice or the re-sale of old items was of such importance to these people. 

Professor: I see.

Archaeologist: We think that the ice driving may have been some sort of sport.  A game of skill and speed, perhaps, watched by the masses for entertainment. 

Professor: That seems to be a sound theory, but what of  – what is it? – Pawn Stars?

Archaeologist: That, sir, has been frustrating for us.  Why the American Ancients would choose this particular industry to preserve for all time is baffling.  We know from other dig sites that these American Ancients built incredible structures, manufactured advanced tools and technology and even, as we discovered in 5430 when we found their tattered flag, journeyed to the moon!  Which of course means that this – this Pawn Stars – was considered by the American Ancients and the archivists who created the History Channel to be of more importance to posterity than any of the aforementioned achievements. 

The professor leans back in his chair and smiles. 

Professor: Ah, the scholar's frustration…

Archaeologist: What do you mean?

Professor: I mean, sir, that you must stop trying to understand the American Ancients in our terms, and see them as they saw themselves.  We scholars must accept that the behavior of the ancients will never make full sense to us so instead we must focus on the facts.  And the fact is that different societies value different things, you see.  In our moderns times we value doctors, teachers, artists and business people for their contributions to our world.  But these ancient peoples valued logging, ice driving the re-sale industry above all else.  It does not make them wrong, sir, only different. 

Archaeologist: I suppose, but to ignore monumental achievements in favor of a small pawn shop in a desert city?  I just…

Professor: I know.  It is hard for we advanced, modern people to understand the ways of the ancients, but trust that this find, this incredible archeological find, will be invaluable in beginning to reveal the society that once lived in this land. 

Archaeologist: Yes, I suppose you are right. 

The archaeologist places the DVD boxes back in his bag.  The professor stands up and offers his hand. 

Professor: A wonderful find, sir.  Now, shall we say goodbye?

Archaeologist:  Yes we shall.

The archaeologist kneels and puts the professor's whole hand in his mouth while the professor places his other hand on the archaeologist's head.

Professor: Goodbye, sir.

Archaeologist: (muffled): Goodbye.

 

Like this?  Follow Street on Tumblr, Twitter and/or Facebook.