When I was small I was taught that if you were being attacked by a bear you should play dead and the bear would leave you alone. It seemed fairly reasonable to my young mind. Later I heard that not only should you play dead but you should defecate on yourself too. By doing those things you would be saved from a vicious bear mauling. So be dead and shit yourself when confronted by a blood thirsty animal.
This advice seems to have stuck with me and has tempered almost all of my decision making as an adult. When confronted with an uncomfortable situation I play dead and shit myself. As you may imagine, this tactic is not very fruitful in say, a cubicle when dealing with a boss or superior who happens to be “correcting” you for a mistake. So you’re left sitting in your own filth, holding your breath for as long as possible. Oddly though, the boss or superior will eventually wander off back into the corporate woods, shaking their head.
This bear survival advice has also not worked very well when it comes to trying to build up the courage to speak to a beautiful woman in the hopes of building a relationship. I mean, I really would like to kiss her, but she’s so pretty that I’m intimidated, so I play dead and shit myself again. The next thing you know you’re always playing dead and smothered in your own feces while surrounded by gorgeous women, all of them wondering what that rotting shit smell is.
This advice has failed me as an adult, but it is so deeply ingrained into the fabric of my psyche that I find it hard to escape. It’s like a deadfall, used to trap bears ironically. I’m impaled on the posts protruding up in the deadfall, looking up at the sky, wondering why the hell I ever listened to that stupid advice about defending yourself from a bear attack.
Frankly, I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and the very possibility of being attacked by a bear is next to ludicrous. So why in the world would I need to follow such terrible bear survival advice? I suppose it was only representative of the horrors in my life; the metaphorical bears created by childhood fears. I’m aware of these fears, I’m aware of the potential that exists to escape these fears. But I’m trapped in the deadfall, while the very blood lusting bear-fears growl and swipe at the edges above me, keeping me trapped.
The bears have been keeping me from success, writing, love, adventure, and living with purpose. I’m tired of being dead and shitty. I hope I can find a new and better survival guide to get me out of this, otherwise, these bears will be the real death of me and my childhood fears will triumph.