THE BLOG

Bear Spray and Mosquito Spray Are Not the Same Thing

10/14/2013 08:54 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

On our way to Yellowstone the other day, before it closed because of stupidity, we came upon a major bear jam up around Pacific Creek. A couple hundred cars were pulled over and the display of photo equipment was truly impressive. There were lenses the size of bazookas aimed at this mother grizzly and three cubs that appeared to be grazing out in the field. I know, you are thinking grizzlies don't graze, but it sure looked like they were eating grass. Maybe it was for the same reason my dog eats grass -- so they could crap indoors.

Anyway, the token idiot from Utah wandered out in the field for a close-up. Suddenly, the interesting nature lesson became one of those Darwin Award deals. All the hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment left the bears and moved to the idiot. I blame YouTube. And those TV shows of Stupid Human Tricks, or Nature Gone Wild. Any tech weenie with a cell phone can get rich selling tragedy to network news now, so nature itself takes a backseat to the chance to make a buck.

People were saying, "God, I hope she just rips his arms off instead of killing him outright. It'll make for much better footage."

I told my daughter the man was committing suicide and we might be able to watch. All these comments about his brainless, stupid, Utah-like behaviour were made within hearing distance of the man's wife and kids. After a bit, the woman herded her children back into one of those pickup trucks so big it takes six tires instead of four to keep them on the road. And the cab is big as a limo. They idle loud as an airplane. The boy was playing some kind of handheld game where he got to kill people, which is modern life for you. Kids are more interested in wasting electronic humans than watching their dad buy it from a grizzly bear.

The bear stood on her hind legs and looked at the guy, but she never charged. The crowd was disappointed.

She did pick off a jogger a week later. Bit him in the ear and shoulder. People who live in grizzly country don't call it jogging. We call it trolling.

A photographer in Yellowstone was mauled the same day as our near-but-not-quite adventure with the idiot. The guy in Yellowstone was two miles from a trail and three from a road. The bear ripped out his eye, and the guy walked three miles with his eyeball hanging off the side of his face. I think. The news story said the bear ripped out his eye, and another story said doctors spent so-many hours putting his eye back in, which means he either carried his eyeball in his hand for three miles or it was hanging by mucus or whatever off his cheek there. Both make an interesting image.

I wonder if he could see out of it. I read that Frenchmen who were guillotined were able to see for around three minutes after their head popped off their body. I don't know how the scientist who figured this out figured it out, but I suppose it's possible. The eye and the brain are both there together. You could see until oxygen became a problem. It would be fun to write a poem under those conditions.

Back to the title of this little piece: Last year a woman from Texas sprayed her kids with mosquito repellant then did the same with bear repellant. Results were about what you would expect.

Two-headed animals and other bizarre creatures