Sunday, May 27, 2012

King Tut's Storage Unit, Part 1

When Chihuahuas* were worshiped as gods...

Today, I went to the King Tut exhibit (Official Tagline: "OMG, last chance EVAH!") at the Pacific Science Center. Seattle is apparently the last stop on the World Tour. I'm sure the artifacts are exhausted after partying on the road for three years. Maybe that's why I got the impression that this exhibit was just phoning it in?

I was dying to see the exhibit for two reasons. First, I'm kind of an Egyptophile (a misleading term, since I've never molested any Egyptian artifacts). Also, I grew up hearing tales of the King Tut exhibit that came to the U.S. back in the 70s. My parents both went to see it in Atlanta (is that right?). My mom was impressed by the opulent artifacts, their historical significance--all that. For my dad, however, the legendary wait to get into the exhibit became his Gold Standard for Lines That Take Far, Far Too Long.

Even years later, every time he would stand in a line that lasted longer than 3.5 minutes, Dad would say, "There better be a sarcophagus of a pharaoh at the end of this line!"  This was unlikely, given that we were probably in the Express Lane at a Winn-Dixie in Jacksonville. But, somehow, the joke never got old.

I thought of this old hardy-harr earlier today, while navigating the crowds at the 21st Century version of the King Tut exhibit (Tut 2.0?).

"We're about to get to the good stuff!" I said to my friend Tammy, whom I'd cajoled into accompanying me to the exhibit. I didn't say, "There better be a sarcophagus of a pharaoh at the end of this line!" because a) I don't want to turn into my dad just yet, and b) unlike at Winn-Dixie, I assumed there was an actual sarcophagus of a pharaoh at the end of the line.

"It must be right around this corn..."  At that moment, we ran smack into the inevitable the gift shop that signals the end of virtually every traveling exhibit. As someone who loves to waste money on fake Egyptian shit (I'm not even joking; the nice people at The Met can tell you...), I was even disappointed by the gift shop. Not even one inflatable miniature sarcophagus desktop punching doll? Really?

Sure, there are some interesting pieces in the exhibit. And it's worth seeing. Whether or not it's worth $32.50 (the weekend rate; $27.50 on weekdays) is another question. For that amount, they really should throw in dinner, or some drinks, or at least a reach-around.

*Okay, fine, it's not a chihuahua. But--in honor of my anonymous charitable benefactor--wouldn't it be pretty to think so?

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