A bear walks into a bar…
Okay, hold it right there…
I don’t know about you, but it’s been quite a while since a bear last walked into a bar in my town. Some blame it on the liberals, those communist bastards who have scared all the bears into writing existential novels or acting in low budget art movies. Others blame it on conservatives, those nazi bastards, who have rounded up bears, forced them into tutus and six months of ballet lessons, down payment non-refundable.
Some people say it’s the fault of global warming which is the fault of man, while others argue over exactly which man, his known associates, street address, cell number, etc. Others say it has nothing to do with global warming, which makes no sense. Global warming is why bears go into bars in the first place – for the air conditioning and the cold beer.
Some blame the sudden drop in bear-bar sightings on the rise of craft beers which bears find a little too bitter. They’ve seen too many times what happens when a bear chugs an IPA. It always comes out their noses.
Over on the subcontinent, however, in places like Mumbai, it’s not any odder that an Indian sloth bear should be in an Indian bar in the first place than he should order an India Pale Ale. Interesting but unprovable fact: India’s Sloth Bears can run faster than humans, but they are also very tame-able, and often trained as performing pets (see “tutus” above). They can even do some lap dancing (as long as the word some is clearly defined beforehand.)
Why is it, in these reports, we hear only about oddball patrons who walk into a bar (i.e., a rabbi, a priest and a wallabee-wannabee walk into a bar; a zombie, a whale and an ordained banjo player, walk into a bar, etc.) Don’t weirdos ever go anywhere else? (Wine spillings? Hard boiled egg peelings? The Medical Examiner’s Gift Shop? Wal-Mart?)
Also, the idea of seeing a bear in a bar isn’t as thrilling as it used to be. Think of your friends or even family members who have had a bear sit down next to them in a bar. How many times have they forgotten to bring it up at home at the dinner table when the sergeant major asks “What’s new out there in the real world today?”
Maybe you’ve been out there yourself and answered “Yeah, I did see a sloth bear guzzling a wheat beer at lunch, but, you know, it was a sloth bear. Other than that, just the same old crap, a normal day of eroding manners, sanity crises, lying liars lying like rugs and the odd hatchet thrown at the odd hatchet-deserver.”
Most recently, while in a bar, drinking a beer, I was surprised to see a bear suddenly sitting on the bar stool beside me. The surprise changed to boredom as he started doing bird impressions in between his burps (although the more I think about it, the more I wonder: It’s quite possible that his burps were also his bird impressions.)
“Shouldn’t you be hibernating somewhere?” I asked.
The bear looked my way and said “Are you talking to me?”
“No,” I said, “I’m talking to the bear sitting next to you.”
He looked to the stool on his right, which was empty. He looked to the seat on his left, which also was empty. Except for me, of course.
“So,” he said, “either you are the bear sitting next to me, or I am the bear sitting next to you.”
“Hey, pal,” said the bartender “you’re talkin’ to yourself again.”
In perfect unison, we responded “Are you talking to me?”
Five minutes later, a large white van pulled up and men in white coats and nets got out and walked into the bar.
So. Will someone please explain to all the white-coat people out there that you can’t fit a bear into a butterfly net?
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.