Justin and Justina make up The New Leaf Journal’s resident fictional dialogue duo. They have similar names and an unusual friendship. You can read their past and future conversations and New York City adventures (or misadventures) in their category archive. In today’s dialogue, Justina shares a Smithsonian Magazine article about dinosaur combat with Justin. Will she regret this choice? Probably. But leave it to Justin to take something and run with it in unexpected directions.

The dialogue

This Justin and Justina dialogue takes place through instant messaging.

Justina: Dinosaur fights? https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/busted-and-broken-fossils-show-how-dinosaurs-fought-180981443/
Justin: …This is big.
Justina: It is?
Justin: My tier-list! Where is my tier-list!?
Justina: Your what?
Justin: I had a big debate with Pete about dinosaur power. Can you believe that dummy ranked the triceratops over the stegosaurus? Normie.
Justina: Who’s Pete?
Justin: We used to be friends.
Justina: You had a falling out over dinosaurs? Really?
Justin: Our manly friendship would never disintegrate over something so petty.
Justina: What happened then?
Justin: This was in 1997.
Justina: I’m sorry, what?
Justin: Just a bit after my eraser story. Found it! Oh man, let’s see the tier list.
Justina: You have something you scribbled in 1997?
Justin: Excuse you! Lovingly crafted. Man… I really can’t read what I wrote. Not sure about this picture either. Is this an archæopteryx or a pigeon?

Archaeopteryx bird fossil photograph in 1901 book titled Animals of the Past. Photograph had been taken at the Berlin Museum.
Source: Animals of the Past (1901) chapter V on Project Gutenberg.

Justina: …
Justin: Also should have thought before writing this on colored construction paper.
Justina: Wait this really is stuff you wrote in 1997?
Justin: I think this is a cat. It has four legs and triangle ears. Probably.
Justina: Wasn’t this about dinosaurs?
Justin: Oh yeah, tier list. Right.
Justina: What tier list?
Justin: What little boy doesn’t have a dinosaur fight tier list? We didn’t have anything to do until Pokémon came here in 1998.
Justina: Excuse you!? Boys? Are you saying girls couldn’t have dinosaur fight tier lists!
Justin: It’s really a boy thing, Justina. We didn’t even need to hang the no girls allowed and girls have cooties signs while debating.
Justina: You had signs!?
Justin: No.
Justina: Well what about that movie you had me watch? What was it again?
Justin: 5 Centimeters Per Second?
Justina: Yeah! The girl liked dinosaurs! She and the sad boy were talking about them!

From the anime movie 5 Centimeters Per Second: A dinosaur fossil crafted out of French fries.
Justina remembers correctly. This screenshot from 5 Centimeters Per Second shows a dinosaur fossil crafted from French fries by friends Takaki and Akari.

Justin: That’s true. But were they talking about fighting dinosaurs?
Justina: No?
Justin: See? Your rising terminal response betrays the truth. Dinosaur fighting is for boys. I bet Takaki had a tier list he didn’t tell Akari about.
Justina: Hmm… So all men are really like that?
Justin: At least until Pokémon.
Justina: What does Pokémon have to do with it?
Justin: Well I said here that we had dinosaur tier lists until Pokémon, right?
Justina: Why are you asking me to tell you what you said a minute ago?
Justin: Because I’m making this up as I go along.
Justina: …
Justin: So anyway, we didn’t need dinosaur tier lists after Pokémon. It was all conceptual, you see? But with Pokémon we could settle our tier list debates. I was able to prove that Moltres was criminally underrated.
Justina: Boys…
Justin: So the first act of 5 Centimeters Per Second where Takaki and Akari are talking about dinosaurs. This takes place in 1995.
Justina: It does?
Justin: Yes! Understanding that is key to understanding their distance. You need to watch it again.
Justina: …
Justin: Anyway, what came out in Japan in 1996?
Justina: Pokémon?
Justin: How did you know!?
Justina: Because I’m not a houseplant and I can follow where you’re leading me.
Justin: Speaking of houseplants, how is Ferdinand doing?
Justina: Very well! He survived the re-potting!
Justin: That’s great to hear! So yeah, if the first act of 5 Centimeters Per Second had taken place in 1996, Takaki and Akari would have still been talking about dinosaurs.
Justina: …That’s the opposite of what you just said.
Justin: Is it? I mean were you paying attention? They loved reading books, not playing video games. Why would the release of Pokémon have changed their dynamic?
Justina: You’re impossible…
Justin: But the rest of the boys, they were all onto dinosaurs, see? So Takaki wouldn’t have had anyone to make tier lists with off camera. Would have strengthened his relationship with Akari.
Justina: …
Justin: I have some unrelated good news.
Justina: What?
Justin: This dinosaur article is only about dinosaurs fighting their own kind, not cross-species battle. So doesn’t really change my original 1997 tier list. I mean I know my tier list was right, but I have no idea how to contact Pete anymore. Think about all the time I would have had to spend tracking him down just to tell him how wrong he was a quarter-century ago.
Justina: You’re giving me a headache.
Justin: It would have been fine though.
Justina: Why?
Justin: I confirmed after going through this box of old school stuff that I didn’t have a dinosaur fight tier list.