The teddy bear has seriously harmed our society's perception of actual bears.
This week, in reaction to a particular bear-related story, my coworker said this:
"oh, look how cute! The poor bear is on the loose in Paramus!"
Wrong. Not cute. You know how I know? You don't cancel outdoor activities when there's something cute walking around outside. Nor do you send for police and guns.
Teddy bears are cute. Were a teddy bear on the loose in Paramus, you'd send the kids outside to say hi. Then you'd take the teddy bear with you to the Stateline Diner for pancakes. And he'd sit there being cute and quiet and he wouldn't eat your pancakes.
A real bear? He'd eat your pancakes. And he might even take a bite out of you.
The 345 pound black bear was shot with a tranquilizer dart in a public park. Authorities transferred the bear to a less populated area. Said my coworker, "oh the poor bear."
Wrong. The "poor bear" eluded police for more than 2 hours as he ran past a high school and a busy park where he could have attacked any number of people. Also they didn't kill it. They subdued it and took it to a more bear-friendly place.
Still: "aw, but look at him, he's so cute." It was at this point I reminded my coworker of another bear story from this week:
Grizzly Bear Attacks Trainer
The "loveable" grizzly bear from the Will Ferrell movie, Semipro, bit his trainer in the neck. The trainer died at the scene.
Said my coworker: Look at him, he's so cute.
Said I: I think he officially stopped being cute when he killed the guy.
Coworker: Yeah but he ate, like, his best friend. He bit his trainer in the neck and killed him.
Again, I made the distinction: teddy bears are cute, inanimate, cuddly. Grizzly bears are 7 ft tall, weigh 700 pounds and eat people.
Said Coworker: I feel bad for him, though. I want to pet him.
Ok. Not me. I don't want to pet anything that weighs 700 pounds and can eat me. I also don't feel bad for the bear. Authorities are deciding whether or not he should be euthanized for his actions. Deciding. The bear gets a trial. The trainer is still dead.
Coworker: but he's still cute.
Time for visual aids:
I hope this clears things up. If you need more convincing, go to abc.com and watch this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy.