The backstroke, of course. But the spate of recent bear sightings in upper Westchester is no joke. I consider myself something of an expert on ursine behavior, having watched nothing but television cartoons for about 14 years of my life. What I have learned is that they are frisky, adventurous, playful and speak perfect English. But they can also be dangerous if provoked or engaged close by their young.
They feel understandably angry because their habitat has been breached and shrunk by Trump real estate ventures. They are also peeved about being portrayed in television commercials as disproportionately obsessed with toilet paper and underwear. So they may be more prone than ever to lash out at humans and human-related targets.
It is best to avoid contact with bears whenever possible. The first rule is, don’t leave anything near your house that a bear could construe as edible. That means food left on a barbecue, easily accessible bird feeders, garbage not properly secured or pet food bowls outside the home.
For instance, my wife kept noticing a mysterious wild black cat hanging around our house for weeks, looking hungry and forlorn. She left a bowl of cat chow for it, and every once in a while we would see it out there taking a quick bite. One day we were at the neighbor’s house and there was the cat, sitting on the couch, looking at us like we were idiots. Barbara told us how they hardly ever fed the cat, it was “living off the land.”
Anyone should be suspicious of a cat “living off the land.” These are weird, delusional animals that kill a mole not to eat, but to play with. It’s not as much fun to play with a dead mole, but at least you can remember where you left it. If a cat wants food, it’s going to go home and make a grilled cheese sandwich or something.
We once camped in a yurt at Yosemite Park, and they were very strict about the storage of anything that a bear might be interested in eating. We were told to lock these items in special bear-proof containers. The only thing we were able to keep with us was a batch of my homemade biscuits I had brought along, which I think are great but my wife says should only be used as fishing-line sinkers.
If you do come into contact with a bear, it’s important that you keep your wits about you and know what to do. First, of course, take a selfie if you have time. Be sure to check your hair and makeup before you enter the forest. To make yourself appear larger, open your coat and stretch it open. This will make you appear larger than you actually are. You should also brag about your 401K.
Do not try to run away. Bears look like they haven’t hit the gym in quite a while, but they can decisively outrun a human on any terrain. You should back away slowly, talking to it so that it knows you are human. Don’t mention anything about toilet paper or underwear, or the size of its nose.
If you are an avid camper you should have a canister of pepper spray with you at all times in case of a bear attack, and to keep the kids out of your stuff. I keep one handy myself. I’m not a camper, but it’s easier than using the pepper grinder.
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