Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cute Polar Bears




I'm as fond of cute polar bears as anyone... However, I know the truth behind the cuteness. I've got some Alaskan tales of polar bears that will curl your toes.
First, from the little town of Kotzebue:
When I lived there back in the early 80's a boy was fishing on the frozen Bering sea less than a quarter mile from shore. A polar bear smelled his catch, came and ate it while the boy ran to shore (in one big gulp, I might add; however that gulp saved the kid's life). The polar bear stayed right behind him until the boy got to one of the restaurants on First, the street right up against the shore. They look ungainly, but polar bears are FAST. The boy got away. Not so in the next story...
In the larger town of Barrow, farther up North:
Kids were getting eaten on the way home from school some time back in the 80's. A couple polar bears figured out the time that kids were going home from school and were waiting for them. Like a polar bear smorgasbord. I honestly don't know how many kids got eaten before they set up a system of having guys with guns walk 'em home, probably only one. But one kid getting eaten is really quite enough. Can you imagine having an escort like that? Your best friend gets EATEN by a polar bear, you're supposed to go home, and the only thing protecting you is a guy on a sno-'chine with a gun? As you can imagine, quite a few kids were absent from school for a while...
In Barrow, they also provide gun-toting escorts for Halloween... I'd probably try and plan my costume with that in mind... Maybe dress up as a polar bear hunter or an old time Eskimo hunter...
This last one is the saddest story- A starving polar bear broke into the home of a young Barrow couple. The husband protected his wife so that she could run for help. But before she could get back with guns and assistance, the polar bear had killed and started eating him.
So, yes, I think polar bears are beautiful, but my first thought when I see cute polar bear pictures is: Polar bears EAT PEOPLE!

1 comment:

The Renzntzman said...

I remember being at Glorieta with the Company and they had bear traps all over the campus. I had to walk back to our cabin alone late one night and I was so scared I was going to be a bear's late night snack.