Digging a Hole into the Past and Hitting Rock Bottom

The year was 2050. The sky was a vibrant shade of blue that February 5th. The clouds had dissipated because they wanted people to appreciate the view. Even the birds had stopped flying and, while perched high on sturdy branches, stared in wonder at the vast blue expanse that dominated their horizon.

However, the situation on the ground was very different. A small puff of smoke rose from a shiny rectangle and floated toward the sky. Still other puffs followed until they obstructed the free and open enjoyment of this blue oasis in the air. And the source of the puffs was obvious: bulldozers, dump trucks, cement mixers and bobcats. These machines worked to block out the sky with their acrid smoke, to dull wonder. But the machines were not the only one’s working.

In a nearby empty field, a young boy stood with his shovel slung over his shoulder. He had heard, if one dug deep enough, one could find all the money in the world and a path to China. He was not sure which potential discovery excited him more.

With a deep breath, he stopped pondering and started doing. He shoved his shovel into the dirt and digged as deep as his arms would let him.  He unearthed quite a lot of Earth but had nothing to show for it. Then he thought he had struck gold.


The shovel hit something hard, and the shock of contact reverberated all the way up the handle until the boy himself felt shaken. He looked down and grabbed the object. It was a bow and arrow, which was probably hundreds of years old. He tossed it aside like it was a penny.

He dug deeper and deeper until he had a little mountain of dirt next to him.


He had struck something again. Was it the long fabled gateway to China? His grin grew wide and he reached down to uncover a priceless dinosaur fossil — thousands of years old.

“Pfft! Good riddance,” he thought as he threw it away.

The boy, determined to find the gold and the gateway to China, kept digging. He started digging until sweat was dripping down his face. Enough droplets fell to the ground to turn some of the dirt into a paste. His muscles wanted to go on strike; they screamed at him for better hours and a vacation. But he paid these signs no mind. He dug and dug and dug until he heard beautiful music.


It was the sound of contact again, and now he saw a case at the bottom of his pit.

“It’s a case holding bars of gold. And I bet China is only a few shovels away now,” he thought.

In a state of delirium, he scooped up the case, not even disappointed by its lightness. He swung it open only to find an unusual gold bar: it was round and dusty. To his deluded eyes, he was staring at a disc of gold. The boy rubbed this round object clean and squinted as he tried to make out the text on it. He proudly read the text, even though he had no idea what it was, aloud.

“ET: The Extra-Terrestrial!”

“Boy,” he thought, “I bet this is worth millions of dollars.”


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