Two bears meet in the woods. They don’t know it, but they’re distant cousins. After the usual sniff-out of each other’s private wooly zones, they are satisfied that the other really is a bear and not someone dressed in a bear suit—which happens every now and then and usually ends badly.
The two cousins sit on a log and begin to relax, and soon they fall into conversation about life and what it means to be a bear.
The first bear, we’ll call him Steve, asks his cousin “Did you ever eat anybody?”
The other bear, let’s say his name is Ted, shakes his head no.
“I stick to vegetables and berries,” he says. “The odd salmon. Better for you.”
Steve says “Me, I had to find that out the hard way.”
“You ate somebody?” Ted is astonished. “I am so impressed. I’ve always wanted to try that. I just…”
Steve seems embarrassed.
“It was a long time ago. I was young and hungry.”
“But do you mind if I ask?” Ted is very excited and gestures a lot with his paws as he speaks. Keep in mind, this whole conversation is taking place in bear talk and some of their words depend on paw waving for emphasis.
“It’s just…what did you do about the clothes? I mean, I’m pretty sure I could eat somebody. Hey, I’m a bear, right? It’s in my job description. But I just don’t want to have to eat their clothes too.”
“I ate everything,” says Steve. “The one guy had a green Mackinaw. I ate that. And I ate his boots, too. Very bad stuff.”
“Wait a minute,” says Ted. “You say ‘the one guy.’ You mean, you ate more than one?”
“They came two to a tent back then,” says Steve. “By the way, I ate that too.”
“You ate the tent?”
“Believe me, if I could go back and do it over, I wouldn’t eat the tent. It gave me problems later. I had to hibernate early that year.”
Ted sympathized. Hibernating was boring enough to begin with, but to have to go in early would be hard to take.
Just as Steve was getting up to leave Ted said “I almost ate a guy once.”
“Almost?” snorted Steve. “Almost only counts in tranquilizer darts.”
“Anyway, there was this guy,” says Ted. “Looked a lot like the guy over there, the one who’s been eavesdropping on us.”
“The skinny guy with the notebook?”
“He’s writing down everything we say.”
“Yeah? Well take my advice,” says Steve. “Go ahead and scare him, but do not eat him.”
“Why not? Just because he looks stale?”
Steve shakes his head. “Haven’t you ever heard of writer’s cramp?”