I'm feeling more and more like Inigio Montoya everyday. He's the guy in "The Princess Bride" that says, "You keep using that word. I do not thin it means what you thin it means." And then later he says, "I know somesing you don't know."
Well, I went to a dinner last night and there was a lot of talk about regime change. And everybody had their own ideas about how it was supposed to work: first, the clash of cultures is a big deal; then the resultant violence; then how re-educating should work; then a required force to protect the lives of innocents; and finally learning how to "speak each other's language" always seems crucial.
And it all sounded darkly familiar except for the fact that it was about running black bears out of the neighborhood for getting into garbage cans. As it turns out, I know as much about bears as I do regime change. Take Libya. Please.
We're not seeking regime change in Libya but we're also not going to stop bombing until Gaddafi quits. I first heard this same tortured logic after I was assigned to the Traffic Division of the Anchorage Police Department, an assignment which would quickly turn into be the shortest assignment in any specialty division at APD, a distinction I believe I still proudly hold.
After a month, the Lieutenant called me in: "Acton, we don't have a quota system here but if you don't start writing more tickets we're going to bounce your ass back to patrol." An officer of the court and sworn to tell the truth, I countered with, "Patrol won't take me back, they don't think I was arresting enough drunks." The dawn of a plan struck him, "Well then, I guess we'll just have to transfer you to the Dic's. If you don't work out there, we'll promote you to being a supervisor." So much for the drive to high SAT scores.
All of which illustrated to me that a regime never changes, just the proper nouns in it.
I couldn't tell Traffic from Patrol and apparently they couldn't either; I used to be able to tell Democrats from Republicans but not so much anymore; and if Gaddafi goes Houdini on us I'm here to tell you that my life would be measurably better if we bombed Steve Ballmer into retirement instead. Which brings me back to the bears.
The plan is to lure the bear into a mobile bear jail by strategically placing Krispy Kreme donuts leading into the trap. Speaking from experience, I'd say there's a 50-50 chance that when they open up the trap tomorrow, they'll have two deputies and a trooper.
But let's say the bear gets there first, though the Vegas Line Odds are running 8 to 5 against with a two donut spread. The idea is drug him, tag him, then wait five hours for him to sober up. Once he sobers up, they open the door and everyone starts shouting "Go away, bear. Go away, bear." Then Fish and Game shoots him in the butt with a bean bag gun and he runs away, sufficiently humiliated and re-educated not to return.
Clearly whatever Rhodes Scholar dreamed this up thinks "The Yogi Bear Show" was a documentary.
Humiliate the bear? He's eating out of your garbage can, how much dignity do you think he's got left to play with?
Don't you think the bear is going to be sitting in the cage doing his Jack Nicholson impersonation from a "Few Good Men": "I eat garbage 500 yards from your front door so don't think you can waive a bean bag in my face and make me nervous."
If someone played bait and switch on me with a dozen donuts, threw me into jail for the night, then let me out with everyone standing around yelling at me while Deputy Fife shot me in the butt with a bean bag, I'd damn sure run off. And then I'd round up my six biggest friends and come back to your neighborhood and take it apart. Come on, how we gonna accomplish regime change if we don't even understand gangs?
And while we're at it, don't we have to assume that Mr. Bear learned how to eat garbage at his mother's knee? Yeah, well -- I'm just saying, if you shot me in the butt with a bean bag I wouldn't want to be in your shoes when my Mom finds out because garbage is going to be the least of your problems.
"Go away, bear!" Seriously? He's gonna get that? We've had our cat for two years and his English is still crap. He weighs in at 20 pounds and sits where ever he damn well pleases. If he was 350 pounds and munching Krispy Kremes, I'm pretty sure we'd have different views on who sleeps where, never mind "Go away, kitty!" And what kind of hallucinogens does it take to make you think you can teach a bear with a hangover to talk in 5 hours? Hell, it'll take him that long just to get the aspirin bottle open.
NEWS FLASH: I just heard they took the jail away after 24 hours because the bear didn't show up. Maybe they figured out what Gaddafi, the bear and my cat already knew: none of them speak English, they don't understand our culture and they're not inclined to do what we tell them. But then, what do I know, I can't even keep my cat off the table.