Friday, March 16, 2007

From the "Grin and BEAR It" department...

OK...I admit it...I do admire those folks who brave the elements and all that to take care of our animal neighbors. Really. I do.

I mean, I can't keep plants alive (read yesterday's entry for clarification) and my cats are constantly doing horrible things to my furniture because I run out of their food too quickly, you'd think I'd be morally opposed.

However, just because I recognize the importance and all doesn't mean I have to be serious.

Hell no.

Let's take this, for example...there's a man out there named Mark Ternent. He manages quote the article:

By the end of March, he (Ternent) will have visited some 30 bear dens around the state, tagging, weighing and taking the vital signs of hibernating mothers and their offspring as part of an effort to gauge the health and size of Pennsylvania's bruin population.

As caretaker of the state's 15,000 black bears, Ternent must figure out the optimal ratio of bears to people. That number will determine how many bears need to be killed by hunters to keep the population under control.

In short, he manages 15000 bears. He literally lays off a certain percentage every year to keep the population down. That's a hard thing to do, especially when a bear can kill and eat you. (Or eat and kill you...not sure on the order of thing)

I'm sorry...but I guess when I think "manage", I think of work. You know what I mean...managers, employees, and the ultimate staff meeting.

Can you imagine a team meeting with 15000 bears, and the manager talking to them about cutbacks? Let me create the scenario for ya...

Scene: conference room, not unlike other conference rooms. Swivel chairs, enough room for 15000 bears, white board, movie screen for PowerPoint presentations, and plenty of honey, roots, and berries. Also, a podium and microphone.


Bears shuffle in the room, growling softly. You hear murmurs of greeting:

"Hey Al..."
"Hey Joe...did you catch the game last night?"
"Nah...the wife wanted to hibernate. I told her it was too early, but you know how women are..."
Then here comes the ultimate manager know the type...short sleeved dress shirt, clip-on tie, pants up to the armpits, glasses, and ever present clipboard. He approaches the podium and begins to speak:

"Good morning crew! It's nice to see so many folks up and about this morning. I have some announcements to make..."
He approaches the white board with his trusty set of dry-erase markers, and lists items one at a time.

"First, just wanted to let you know that it's not too late to sign up for the softball team! Please contact Marge in HR for more information...and let's beat those Weasels!"

(growls of assent from the employees)

"Next, there's a Weight Watchers meeting in Conference Room A tomorrow at noon...not that any of you need it, of course..."

(blank stares, a few disgruntled bruins show fangs as sign of dominance. Manager then stammers...)

"Now, this next announcement is one I'm not as pleased to make. You know this is as hard for me as it is for you."

(one bear in the back says "Yeah, right" under his breath and is promptly shushed by a middle-management wanna be.)

"As you know, it's coming time for the yearly population assessment. While we've worked hard to keep the numbers down, there are still some of us out there that just can't stop mating."

(a couple bears hoot and holler in the back, "YEAH BOYYYY" and are again shushed by the middle management wanna be.)

"So on that note, I would like to give you some figures to think about."

(Begins to write percentages on the board, then looks back at group.)

"This year, the ratio of bears to people is high enough that culling is probably going to begin soon."

(Young bear raises his hand)

"Yes, son?"
"Yeah, uh, what's culling?"

(other bears groan in unison.)

"Good question. Good one. Uh...culling means other words, if you have too much of something you have to get rid of some of it to make sure the balance remains."

"So, uh...this is like a layoff? You're FIRING us? You can't fire us because we're bears. Does the ASPCA and ACLU know about this?"

"No...not exactly..."

(Old bear with grey hair stands up...disgruntled and jaded)

"What he's tryin' to say, junior, is that every year, us bears have to be prepared to 'take one for the team'. In other words, some of us get to live another year, and some of us get shot by hunters."

(Young bear drops jaw in surprise)

"Well, how have YOU stayed around so long?"

"I ate his sister in 1976 and he never forgot it."