Whew! This month is seriously kicking my butt! I’m slogging through Camp NaNo- waaaay behind schedule- and barely keeping up with this class I’m teaching at the school and I’ve upped my (admittedly small amount of) hours at work by 50%. Yikes!
Still, it’s been a good month. I feel like I’m doing reasonably well, and I hope to play a little more catch up later in the month. I’ve put my submissions stuff on the back burner until May, and I haven’t been able to do as much reading as I’d like, but I’m actually keeping up in all my other regular chores. (For example, not every pan in the house is dirty.) For now, that’s gonna have to do.
Next week, we’ll have a reblog from the ever amazing Madison Dusome, but for now, enjoy a super unedited bit of weirdness that I thought was kind of fun regarding the plight of a low-tier camp counselor. Enjoy!
Bear Attacks: How Not to Die
Alright kids, you have so far done an excellent job of not dying. And in the interest of not getting sued by your parents, we’re gonna talk about how to keep that winning streak going.
Atticus! Put that down and get over here. Pay attention.
Now. Who here’s seen a bear? Wow, all of you? Wait, no, Zoo Boise doesn’t count. I mean, like, you and some big ball of teeth and fur, and nothing between you but like a few thorn bushes and an outhouse. Okay, that’s what I thought.
Me? No, I’ve never seen one either. But we’re gonna learn about it today anyway because this is a summer camp and Smokey doesn’t care if you’re a moose or a third grader.
So who can tell me the two kinds of bears they have here in the Alaskan Interior?
That’s right! Brown bears. What else?
Gummy bears will not kill you in your tent for a granola bar, so no, Sophie, not gummy bears. Try to take this seriously.
Come on, Alex, do you really think they have panda bears here?
Seriously, guys? It’s the same two we have back in Idaho. Didn’t your parents ever take you camping?
Thank you! Black bears!
Okay, yes, Alaska does have polar bears, but they don’t come this far south and if one of those starts hunting you, you’re pretty screwed anyway.
Okay, so black bears and brown bears. If you-
No, grizzlies are just another name for brown bears.
I don’t know; they just call them that.
No, those are just-
Sun bears? Where do you think we are?
Atticus, sit down.
Okay, guys, we’ve got black bears and brown bears, also known as grizzly bears. Who knows how to tell them apart?
Well, because you have to do different things when you encounter different bears.
Just don’t get them mixed up, okay? Now pay attention.
Sophie, put your gummy bears away.
Okay, how do you tell brown bears and black bears apart?
Okay, good! Color. What else can you look for?
No, Alex, don’t be silly.
Come on, guys.
Okay, which one’s smaller?
And one more guess.
Yes! Black bears are smaller. So brown bears are…
Yes. Thank you.
Black bears are only like five feet tall standing up, but brown bears are like eight feet tall.
Well, yeah, they’re both taller than you kids. But brown bears are a lot taller. Black bears also have a kind of straighter face and curvier claws.
Alex, come one. Would you seriously walk up and check its claws?
Well don’t, okay?
Yes, I’m checking the paper, I don’t want to mix this up.
Of course I know what I’m talking about. I’m just making sure.
Atticus- Sit. Down.
Okay. So say you want to go down to the waterfront, but you want to be bear safe. What do you do?
Okay, sure, but you’re not riding in a car, you’re walking.
Sophie. Leave her alone.
Sophie, you! You’re going to the waterfront. How should you get down there?
Um. Alright. But would you go alone?
Okay, but don’t, okay? If you walk in groups, it’s a lot safer. And if you make a lot of…
Make a lot of…
Come on, guys, you’re doing it right now.
Noise! Yes! Make a lot of noise. Bears don’t like to be surprised.
So you’re heading down to the waterfront and you’re in a group and you’re making noise, but there’s a bear on the trail ahead of you.
Well, okay, for this part it doesn’t matter. Black or brown, there’s a bear. What should you do?
That’s a good idea. Just heading back the way you came can’t hurt. Slowly back up, and don’t put your back to it. Always give bears a lot of space, and never-
Atticus! Do you want to spend the afternoon cleaning outhouses?
Alright, guys, let’s just get through this so we can go make bead necklaces or something. Give bears space. Never run. If you run, it’ll chase you and it’ll be a heck of a lot faster. What else?
No, please don’t try to climb a tree. Bears can climb, and they’re way better at it than you.
Yes, you too, Lily.
Lily, seriously, you cannot outclimb a bear.
I don’t care if your cousin is Tom Brady; beating some punk cousin in a tree climbing race doesn’t qualify you to escape a bear up a tree. And even if you did beat it to the top, it can just keep climbing up after you.
Okay, so say you haven’t been listening to anything I’ve said and you snuck up on a bear and now you’re in for it. So it decides to attack and it’s a black bear. What should you do?
Eh, screaming won’t help.
Okay, someone might come help you, but mostly you’re just telling the bear, ‘Sure, I’m prey! Easy pickin’s!’ Screaming isn’t gonna help.
No, it’s a black bear. You play dead for a brown bear. For black bears, you…
Yes. You fight back. Beat it around the nose as much as possible, they have sensitive noses.
And what if it’s a brown bear?
Come on, guys, I just said it.
Play dead. Thank you. Lay on your belly like this…
And then cover your neck with yours hands like this…
And spread your feet like this.
So you’re harder to flip over.
Well, I guess your back’s got more bones to protect you if it starts clawing you open.
No, I mean, it won’t. Probably.
No, no, seriously, the odds of a bear actually attacking are like really really small.
No, honestly. Look, it says right here.
Oh, Alex, don’t cry, honey. This’ll seriously never happen.
Well, because there’s a really really small chance that it might happen so you should know what to do just in-
I don’t know. It just says ‘rare’.
I really don’t know.
Because whoever wrote this pamphlet didn’t think percentages were important. It’s just rare, okay?
Oh, Alex. Nobody’s gonna eat you.
Atticus, sit down!
You know what? Let’s just… review this later. Who wants to run up to the obstacle course?
Yeah. Me too.