Some months ago, the cheerful and welcoming bear mural on my street disappeared, and it wasn’t until very recently that I learned the reason he disappeared was that some neighbor of ours complained about it. This makes me unbelievably angry. We have bottle walls, a witch house, iron flails and a zebra embellishing various properties in the neighborhood, and a friendly bear saying “Hello!” is a graffiti problem? We need to get along better with the bears, I think.
ETIQUETTE: Bears are confusing. It’s a bad thing when bears get used to humans, so you are supposed to be unpleasant to them, but not threatening. The best way, it seems, to behave when you are encountering a bear in the wild is to pretend you are a boy in kindergarten with a crush on a girl. Throw rocks in her general direction, but do not actually hit her or make eye contact.
SUPERSTITION: Bear grease (essentially, rendered bear fat) is a good cure for aches and pains, diseases in the garden, and for baldness. A cure for fits can also be obtained from a bear, though it is slightly more dangerous to obtain. Get some fur from a live bear’s tummy, boil it in alcohol, and apply it to your feet. Now you are fit-free.