To Charlie the Giant Fucking Bear, Wherever I May Find Him

There are few things left for Jeff Merrion to conquer. Camping in the great outdoors was, until recently, among those things. In an attempt to save his own life, Jeff reasons with a belligerent brown bear through a carefully-worded letter.

The following is based on actual events:

Dear Charlie the Bear,

I understand that, at this point, as you jostle our tent and angrily exhale through your gargantuan nostrils, you probably won’t listen to reason. But I saw a guy reason with a bear once in the movie Grizzly Man, so I figured I would give it a shot. The following explains why you should not kill my friends and me, even though, tightly packed in this tent, we probably look like some sort of jumbo, quadra-headed corn dog to you. So bear with me, and hear me out.

We didn’t encroach on your territory intentionally. The six of us were just worn out from a long summer of working in Denver, so we thought we would free ourselves from the shackles of day jobs and the fetters of private property. Obviously, we deluded ourselves a bit in thinking that these goals would be attainable. This became clear as soon as we set foot within the Gore Creek Campground. Immediately, the caretakers of the campsite stepped in front of our car. The woman, who was about sixty, jumped up and down in what appeared to be some sort of exotic mountain voodoo ritual, her gray hair enveloping her head like St. Elmo’s fire. It turns out she was just haranguing us for driving too quickly (10 mph) through the campsite.

She informed us that we were on the private property of Woodland Camps, Inc. and that we would have to abide by its rules if we were to be allowed to stay on the site. Among the rules was a 10 p.m. curfew.

A 10 p.m. fucking curfew? We are mountain men! Did the caretaker not see our rugged facial hair and rippling muscles? Mountain men don’t have curfews. Needless to say, we were livid and considered not staying in your home, Charlie. But even mountain men need to urinate, and, after a two-hour drive from Denver, we decided that we would stay under the fascist regime of Molly and Bob, the Aged Dictators of Gore Creek Campground.

Dictators Molly and Bob came up to our campsite, ostensibly to warn us about you. They told us that you like to come out during full moons and that our site, #21, was your favorite. They also gave us neon glow wristlets to scare you off. I guess you are scared of the color fuchsia. As they told us about you, though, their searching eyes molested our campsite, looking for contraband. Not even in the mountains are we free from human suspicion.

Between the glowing bracelets, numbered campsites, and the 10 p.m. “quiet time,” I felt not that we were in the lair of bears, but in a motel without walls or ceilings.

I have to tell you, Charlie, you have a beautiful home. To be surrounded on all sides by towering mountains is humbling. Maybe not to you, because as a giant fucking bear, humility is not among your innate traits. But for me, to see the endless expanse of trees, each with enough complex inner workings to occupy a biologist for years, was a humbling and spiritual experience. We live with relative impunity in the big city, Charlie, and know little of the unfathomable power of nature. We trick ourselves into thinking we are more than we are, more than feeble, fleeting blips on a planet of such tremendous magnitude.

I’m sorry to get so philosophical on you, Charlie. I’m supposed to be convincing you not to disembowel us with a single swipe of your giant fucking bear paw.

If your goal is to make us suffer for having encroached upon your territory, your mission is already accomplished. If you knew the gastrointestinal distress we have been through, you would surely let us go out of pity.

An immediate lesson I learned while camping in your home is to eat conservatively. There comes a point in the lifetime of a hamburger patty (and that point is two hours, based on my unfortunate estimation) at which it can no longer be eaten without suffering serious consequences. And gastrointestinal distress in the wild is more than an inconvenience.

Granted, we aren’t even in the wild; there is a port-a-potty less than five minutes away. It’s just that crouching in the port-a-potty at night, with that mortifying infinity beneath my ass, is terrifying. Why are the holes in the port-a-potties so deep? Tangentially, do you ever get the urge to push over the port-a-potty while a human is in it?

Anyway, the point of this anecdote is to let you know that you need not make us suffer; we have already done it to ourselves.

Alternatively, if you are trying to scare us out of our tent and into your insatiable stomach because you feel that we are out of place in your neighborhood, think again. We have already begun to adapt.

Just tonight, we discovered a manner in which we could split a big log into firewood by hitting it with a pointed rock. We are cave men! You should have seen us, crouching with our pointed rocks, grunting as we rent nature in twain and molded it for our own purposes. One of us even began to bleed from the physical exertion. He commented that he hadn’t even felt the pain until he shined the flashlight on his bloodied hands. When the Department of Wildlife tranquilized you and tagged your ear, did you feel pain? Regardless, you would have been proud of our resourcefulness in the wild.

But you are not proud! Judging by your frenzied snorting, you are impervious to my reasoned attempts to keep myself out of your giant stomach.

It almost sounds as if you are chortling, mocking us. Why? Is it because we have driven two hours to sit and talk about inconsequential philosophies, just as we would have if we had stayed at home? What else should we have done? Are you laughing at us for the hours we spend talking about philosophy and humanity, even though deep down we realize that we will pass without having ever made a dent in human thought? You seem happy; what’s your secret?

I know what it is. You’re smug because you get to sleep for four months of the year. Well listen, you big furry bastard, not all of us have that kind of free time. We can’t all go around eating people and then sleeping for an entire season.

I didn’t mean to lose my temper like that with you, Charlie. I am just overwhelmed by the sheer size of your mammoth paw as it swipes against the tenuous tent fabric. The sound that your make against the tent is incredible! It sounds like four zippers being undone at once.

Do you have a bear family or any bear friends? I have noticed that life in the wild lends itself to teamwork beter than life in the city. Since our arrival, my friends and I have been working together towards a goal of common comfort. It was wonderful. You might have seen us, saddled down with gear as we set up camp. You might have heard us wheezing from the altitude and exertion. And yes, that was me that vomited in your lair as a result of working too hard to walk up to the campsite. Sorry.

Do you like music, Charlie? Why don’t you spare us for the fact that we gave you the gift of music tonight? We all sat around a fire, poorly tuned acoustic guitars in hand and played “Creep” by Radiohead. You know that part where Thom Yorke gracefully hits the soprano high note in the final chorus? You probably thought that someone was smacking a baby with a cat when you heard us scream that note.

And yet you persist with your snarling and gnawing at the tent, and it looks as though the fabric is about to give. You just aren’t susceptible to logic. You have a one-track mind, Charlie.

What’s that? Is that the squealing dictator of our campsite down the trail? And what is that whirring I hear split the air? And now that thump?

Ah, it appears that you have been tranquilized. I’m sorry it had to end like that, Charlie. But don’t you read the Bible? God gave humanity dominion over all other creatures. And that dominion encompasses the right to tranquilize your giant bear ass, and then haul it miles away from your home.

I hear you snorting in your sleep, but don’t be a sore loser. You lost your right to defend your territory first when God created humanity, then again when humanity decided to build a city so near your glorious mountains, and then a third time when six humans decided to fork out 16 dollars for the right to sleep on your home for a couple nights. Tough shit.

Warmest regards,
Jeff

While he excels in most other areas, Jeff Merrion’s spatial logic falls within the lower third percentile of United States citizens. He is a Religious Studies major and, as such, has a long life of administrative assistantship awaiting him. To potential employers: Jeff makes a mean cup of coffee.