This Particular Bear (A re-post)

“Yep, that is a bear, alright,” the cop said as he lowered his binoculars.

“Yep,” the other cop said.  “Not too hard to spot, with the big lumbering body, the brown fur, the teeth and the sharp claws on those huge muscular paws.”

“Yeah, kind of hard to mistake a bear, when you get right down to it.  They are distinct.”
“Have you noticed where this particular bear is?”

“Yes,” the first cop said, rubbing a spot off his binoculars.  “I made a mental note of that right off.  This particular bear is up a tree.”

“Well, yes,” the second cop said, “but more than up a tree, I think.  He is very high up in a tree, in the middle of a residential street in a city not known for having much of a bear population.”

“Yes.  It is a puzzlement.”

“Thank you for that insight, Yul Brenner.  It is a puzzlement indeed.  However, the real problem, the nub of the issue, the heart of the matter in a manner of speaking is not the location of the bear.”

“I agree.  That is not the prime consideration with which we need to treat.”

“No, sir.  The question which requires our deepest and most profound cogitation is what to do about this particular bear, high up in a tree, in the middle of a residential street in a city not known for having much of a bear population.”

“I am certainly open to suggestion,” the first cop said.  He was the senior of the two, but only by a year or two.

“Well, we can wait him out.  I believe it is a truism in the field of natural science that bears are as adept at climbing down as they are at climbing up.”

“That is certainly one strategy,” the first cop said.  “However, I detect a flaw in that scenario.”

“A flaw?” said the second cop.  “Well, I never perceived it as a perfect solution, but please, elaborate.”

“Well, it seems a reasonable surmise that this particular bear has wandered to this particular neighborhood from the surrounding hills, and has done the aforementioned wandering because he is hungry.”

“A very reasonable surmise.”

“So, follow me on this.  If he was hungry when he did his original wandering, let us try to imagine his state if we, as you so succinctly phrased it, ‘wait him out’.

“Hungrier yet, I would anticipate.”

“And I think that, in the world of bears, hungry is tantamount to dangerous.  Can we agree on that point?”

“I believe the truth of that statement does not even warrant discussion.”

“Leaving us to cogitate further and, it is to be hoped, settle on a different plan.  One that would place fewer of the local citizens, not to mention ourselves, in dire, bear-oriented peril.”

“Just so,” said the first cop, raising the binoculars to his eyes again.  “In that vein, how high up would you say this particular bear is?  I make it about thirty feet.”

“My initial and quite informal measurement led me to an estimation of approximately fifty feet.  But, I suppose we can split the difference and say forty feet.  Does the application of objective data jiggle any of your neurons?  Does it toggle any interpretation?  Corral any concepts?  Develop any dispositions to our current conundrum?”

“Only one, I’m afraid.  And it is not subtle, nor neat, nor in any way a comprehensive solution.  I suggest that we shoot this particular bear with a tranquilizer.”

“Shoot him with a tranquilizer?”

“Yes.  Thus rendering his hunger academic, his location only temporary, and transforming our problem from one of confrontation into one of transportation.”

And thusly, verily, in a trice, it was accomplished.  The bear, young and spry enough to be unharmed by his involuntary plummet, was soon transported to a wooded area and released.  As he sprinted away from civilization, he did not feel under any compunction to favor his rescuers with a backward glance.

A grateful city plans to award the two erudite officers a set of Roget’s Thesaurus, and a collectors edition of “The Best Of Toody And Muldoon.”


Through My Glasses, Darkly

I have four pairs of glasses, Well, four that I know of.  There are probably others lurking in dark recesses, shirking their duties, maybe even smirking.  Two of the ones I can locate are prescription bifocals, one regular, and one with the coating that darkens the lenses in sunlight.  So far the ‘polychromatic’ lenses have proven useless because we have barely seen the sun around here since the end of March.  The other day I heard the song “Here Comes The Sun” and the White House immediately condemned it as fake news.  

The other two pairs currently in circulation are just readers, available at any drugstore, department store, dermatologist or tree surgeon.  I try to keep the readers in the house, conveniently placed so I can use them to read.  Yeah, right.

Anyone over thirty living in the twenty-first century knows that eyeglasses migrate.  There is a rumor that they elope with the sox that go missing from your drier, but I don’t believe that.  Clearly, sox are snobbish and would not wish to share their alternate universe with something as prosaic as eyeglasses.  Glasses simply sneak around by themselves.  Logical people swear that this is not true, but they don’t even try to explain how they end up somewhere other than where they were put.  I don’t know if they flip, slide, swim, roll, slither or transport, I only know that they relocate when no one is looking.

Today for example… at least one of the bifocals is supposed to be in the car, for distance when driving.  I don’t need the readers in the car because I don’t usually read while I am driving.  Almost never.  The readers are supposed to be in the house, as I mentioned, so I can use them to read, because I don’t generally drive the car in the house.  Again, almost never.  So today, somehow, both pairs of readers were in the car and both pairs of bifocals were in the house. I think they’re just screwin’ with me now.

To paraphrase Steve Martin,” I gotta get a pair of eyeglass leg irons, and I gotta get ‘em quick!”




… is one of those words that you just can’t seem to hide from anymore.  The newspapers reference it, magazines use it, newscasters spout it, and social media is saturated with it.  It even came up at dinner the other night.

It’s a funny word, flexible and ambidextrous.  Being of a certain age, trolling to me still means fishing from a slow moving boat.  In the 90’s,  a troll  was a popular doll with hair like Don King, but cute.  And a troll, of course, is a mythical creature, generally huge, ugly and dumb.  I think the current cache of troll villains began in Norse mythology.  There are trolls that worked for Sauron in Lord of the Rings; Bilbo got them to argue until the sun came up when they turned to stone.  It was a troll that snuck into Hogwarts and almost turned Hermione into an appetizer.   

But we have moved from trolls to trolling.  Another example of our high-speed culture that can’t wait to turn a noun into a verb. Trolling is not cute, or dumb, but it is huge and ugly.

In the relatively new social media demimonde trolling  means to purposely antagonize someone online.  Of course there are multiple ways to do that… written text, pictures, video… and in our current political climate, trolling has become an art for some, and an obsession for others.   

But it is one of those words, or concepts, that is losing meaning, fading from overuse, fraying at the edges from being stretched to fit too many things.  Now, I think, it has morphed into any joke, negative comment, or even a reasonable disagreement directed at someone.  I react, I disagree, I joke, I poke fun, but I don’t troll.  At least  don’t think I do.

And, silly of me I know, but I have this serene image in my head when I see the word trolling.  In my head, a huge beast with bad teeth is fishing in a slow moving boat.  Behind him, a tiny naked figure with wild hair is rowing with one hand and frantically typing something into his cell phone with the other.




Just A Thought

Here’s a thought.

Suppose that people had names that you could connect with wine. I know a therapist  named Moscato… and I like Moscato, and I get along with her.  Coincidence?  Perhaps not.  If I met someone named, say, Chardonnay, would I like him?  Or her?  Probably not.  The name speaks to me of a snooty guy with a widow’s peak who inserts phrases like ‘je ne sais quoi’ into a perfectly reasonable conversation and expects me to not sneer.  And the wine makes me wince.

Or let’s say a girl I meet at a party named Sangria.  I have never met anyone with that name, but she would have to be Spanish, or Mexican, and she would probably be wearing a stripey, colorful, full length skirt that she just loves to fling around.  She probably has a mole too, a small one, on her upper lip.  Her I would like.

Or how about Riesling.  That’s probably a middle name of a recent graduate of  Stanford Law School.  Hudson Riesling Harcourt for whom corporate tax work is his ticket to fame and fortune.  He could come in handy at times, like a good Riesling, but not as a steady thing.

Chablis; Probably a blonde with a big smile and lots of promise, but after she tells you  how many friends she has on face book and what her personalized license plate is,  becomes really boring.  Pass.

Dom Perignon.  A guy with a pointed beard wearing spanish breeches and waving around a little sword.  He doesn’t drink, and I hate bubbles up my nose.

Gewurztraminer;  Either a monk in a dank cellar poised over a huge book with a quill pen, or else a Reichsmarschall in the Franco-Prussian war wearing a spiked helmet.  Either way, nope.

Brut:  A professional wrestler who forces his out of work second cousin to shave his back.  Negatory under even the best circumstances.

Anyway, just a thought.