Thursday, August 26, 2010
Man Mauled and Killed By Bear - A Brief Lesson in Common Sense
Current mood: Bewildered
As I was skimming the news last week, I saw an article about a man in Ohio who had been mauled and killed by a black bear. Not surprising – bears have been killing folks for years. The surprising thing was that the bear was owned along with eight other bears in an apparent menagerie outside Cleveland that also included some tigers and a lion and about twenty wolves. The man who was killed had been employed by the guy who owned all the creatures, as much as any man can own a wild, carnivorous animal that can maul you, bite you or tear you to death and have you for dinner at its whim. Perhaps a better phrase would be “caged all the creatures”. And as we have seen time and time again, caged animals really don’t enjoy it all that much. That’s why monkeys fling their excrement and various circus and zoo personnel have been dispatched in bloody fashion over the years when their bloodthirsty charges have finally had enough.
The man who was killed – we’ll let him remain nameless out of respect for the deceased – had chosen to work with the menagerie, which consisted of mostly animals who avoid mankind overall and generally kill them in the wild when humans are forced upon them. Heck, even the Grizzly Man, who lived among the creatures in the wild for extended periods of time ended up becoming simply a part of the food chain when vittles became scarce. Not a big animal fan anyhow, I do believe that given the choice, I would rather assist in the management of a more peaceful menagerie – perhaps some cows, or sheep. Not birds – I hate those things. Sloths would be good – I could always outrun a sloth. The only way a sloth could be dangerous would be if it fell directly on you from the tree branch from which it hung. And those Goddamn claws would have your breakfast on the ground for you if one sliced you in a freak sloth-fall. So keep the sloths, too. So, let’s recap – cows or sheep –that’s about it. No birds, or reptiles. Or wolverines at any cost. I would not tend to any animal that would have the means to throw me into the air, either. That includes elephants, rhinos, angry bulls and the larger primates. And nothing that could tear me apart – no big cats, hyenas, schools of piranha, or Javelina.
So if it came down to basic animal management, I would feel comfortable with herding cattle or sheep, if I didn’t have to mount a horse to do so. Once mounted on the horse, it becomes a beast that can throw me into the air, which would immediately disqualify it from the proceedings. That limits me to sheepherding. Or feeding non-aggressive fish that live in an aquarium, or a small pond. I don’t trust water much when push comes to shove and don’t even eat fish, so I may just be limited to herding the docile sheep. I don’t want any of those fucking rams with the curly horns, either. Keep them up on the dangerous slopes if they’re so sure-footed, not near my herd – we are a peaceful group and prefer to keep it that way.
But the fact of the matter is that I would prefer to work in a potato chip factory, or someplace where they bake cookies, as long as I could work around those savory aromas, yet still be comfortably air-conditioned. Animals are unpredictable and working with them little more than yelling and stomping, I imagine. On the other hand, the delicate cooking of the potato chip or the baking of a perfect cookie, generously festooned with sizeable chocolate chips would be almost an art. I could work with my hands, which have proven to be quite dexterous over the years, if it didn’t involve too much activity that would bruise or blister them. Assembling scale models of buildings, boats or airplanes is a possibility.
But my preferences of career choice are not why I am writing.
I am writing to ponder why a man would own such a dangerous menagerie of beasts in the first place. It would seem that a person would always have to be on alert when strolling the property, simply waiting for the day when the gate is left open and he is attacked by twenty angry, vicious, hungry wolves. And why would another simpleton hire on to feed and wrestle with them, as the article stated. I don’t mean to disparage the dead, but Jesus Christ, man – what were you thinking??? Buy some peacocks, or some llamas. I would not venture near either on a dare, but compared to wrestling with bear or chucking raw meat to a lion, caring for a llama would be a walk in the park.
All I’m saying is – by all means, follow your dream - do something you love. That’s what makes life worthwhile. Unless it involves wild, bloodthirsty beasts that will eventually eat you alive when you let your guard down. And if you must tend them, do it sober, please.
Jerry Ford – here with another public service announcement.
For Jerry's video blog, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/TooFarJerry#p/f