Archive for January 16th, 2011

Ursidae in the Workforce

I realized recently that it has been some time since I last posted. So, I thought it appropriate to jot down a quick note in order to sustain the heretofore waning pulse of this blog.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to witness the beginning of a tidal surge of toys that will be lavished upon my son as his life progresses. Largely innocuous and irrelevant to Langston (he prefers chairs or his own feet for entertainment), there are a few infant leisure items that have captured my attention, namely, bears employed as various rescue workers. Today, I watched Langston as someone held a small bear clad in the gear of a water rescuer. Given his proclivities for amusement, however, he did not award it much attention. All I could think to myself was, “Good for you, son!”- and here’s why: the reality of what that bear represents is terrifying.

Imagine that you’ve ventured out in a friend’s dinghy just off the coast of England in early January. You haven’t a clue why you agreed to this- the temperature is near freezing, you’re shivering prevents you from holding a fishing rod, and you haven’t actually anywhere to go. Suddenly, your friend’s inability to appropriately navigate the boat finds the vessel capsized and you both struggling for your lives. In the midst of flailing your arms, treading water, and timing your breaths to gasp for air at the trough of each wave. The burning in your muscles signal that you cannot take much more of this, when, suddenly, you notice a boat speeding in your direction. The nearly epileptic flicker and color of the lights signal to you that rescuers are fast approaching. As the boat draws nearer, however, you note the inordinate amount of fur that these lifesavers possess. It is a boat full of bears. Now, despite the extreme unlikelihood that these mammals would have received and retained the training necessary to navigate a rescue boat, here they are. You’re problems have been compounded exponentially. Not only are you on the verge of drowning, but shortly you will have bears in the water. Your choices are not between drowning and holding on for the rescuers to arrive. They are between drowning and being eaten. Forget about pacing your breathing. How are you going to escape a group of bears trained to swim in rough seas, not to mention the fact that they can bide their time and follow you at a relaxed pace, waiting for you to exhaust yourself, given their recently acquired boat-driving skills?

A bear dressed as a fireman is even worse. No one would breathe a sigh of relief when, as their house is engulfed in flames about them, they perceive a brown mass of fur wrapped in the gear of a fireman charges toward them at heroic speed. Your situation just got worse, m’friend. No one in need of help ever thinks, “I could really use a bear right now.”

A rescue bear is not an adorable plaything. It is a warning that things could be worse. “Hey, kid. Here’s a teddy bear. Appreciate that your life isn’t this bad.”