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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Glacier National Park Signs, Paraphrased

The missus and I are returning from our Great Montana Migration of 2013 tomorrow. While we’re still here in Glacier National Park, I thought I’d relay some of the signs I’ve seen posted around the park for visitors, tourists and hikers.

“These bears are not like Yogi Bear or Smokey the Bear or Mike Ditka the Bear or the musical bruins of the Southern nightmare Country Bear Jamboree.”

Of course, I don’t actually read these signs all the way through. Some of them are pretty long — where by “pretty long”, I mean longer than “YIELD”. But I get the gist, pretty much. And some of the messages have been reinforced by various guides, bus drivers and Sasquatch-resembling outdoorsmen during our trip.

So here’s what some of the park signs say.

More or less.

Probably.


PLEASE DO NOT APPROACH THE BEARS

This is an area of frequent bear activity. If you are unfamiliar with this area, you may not be aware of important and fundamental details about these bears. These bears are not like Yogi Bear or Smokey the Bear or Mike Ditka the Bear or the musical bruins of the Southern nightmare Country Bear Jamboree. Rather, these bears are large, furry, unpredictable, territorial, grizzly and want nothing more than to be left alone to eat berries and sleep and poop in the woods.

On second thought, we take it back: these bears are exactly like Mike Ditka the bear.

PLEASE DO NOT APPROACH THE BEARS


DO NOT BE A DICK TO PLANTS

This side of the park gets approximately fourteen hundred feet of snow a year. The plants here live eight thousand feet above sea level, and have maybe three months to grow and flower before Mother Nature comes back and takes another big white dump on their heads.

If somebody planted your fat ass in the tundra ice, would you want people coming by stepping on you and picking your petals and letting their grubby snot-nosed children paw your leaves? No, you would not.

These plants are bad-ass enough already. Please don’t tempt them into evolving poison needles or flesh-melting pollen or some shit like that.

DO NOT BE A DICK TO PLANTS


HIKERS SHOULD ALWAYS CARRY BEAR SPRAY

If you’re hiking through these woods, you may encounter a bear. Where ‘encounter’ may mean “have your face ripped off your head by”. As a prevention to having your face or other soft tender parts forcibly removed from your body by a bear, the park recommends carrying bear spray at all times in the wilderness. As a last resort, firing this pepper spray at a charging bear should cause the bear to retreat.

We are aware that this spray is costly; ounce per ounce, it may be more expensive than Chanel No. 5. We do not recommend spraying bears with Chanel No. 5, however. It is unknown whether Chanel No. 5 will repel a bear, or simply enrage the bear as it would most unsuspecting customers spritzed in a shopping mall.

We also do not recommend preemptively spraying yourself with bear spray to ward off nearby bears. Though this may be effective, the practice will also likely ward off nearby humans, and will possibly ward your skin away from the rest of your body — in a similar fashion as Chanel No. 5.


ABSOLUTELY NO SPEEDING

The speed limit on this road is 15 miles per hour. Many park rangers live on this road, and they know the difference between 15 miles per hour and 17 miles per hour. They will enforce the speed limit under all circumstances.

Because this road is in a national park, a speeding ticket constitutes a federal offense. This means that if you exceed the posted speed limit, you may well be thrown into a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison, very possibly with an ill-tempered bear as a cellmate.

Maybe the kind of bear you’re thinking of. And maybe not. Also maybe Mike Ditka. Your move, leadfoot.


DO NOT RUN FROM BEARS

Bears are predatory mammals. They are also not especially bright. If you run from a bear, it will assume that you are made of chocolate or gingerbread or some other delicious substance, and are playing “hard-to-eat”. It will chase you, and it will catch you. And then it will taste you, to see whether it was right.

Presumably, you are not made of chocolate. You may, however, still be delicious to a bear.

DO NOT RUN FROM BEARS


RESTORATION AREA — KEEP OUT

This area has been recently replanted with small trees to replace larger, older trees killed by disease, fire or accident. These seedlings are currently in a delicate state, and must not be disturbed while they recover.

If you insist on entering this area, the National Wildlife Service will dispatch rangers to hunt down your children and torment them in equivalent fashion. We will spread rumors about them in their schools, call them fat in the locker room, and crush their precious hopes and dreams. You think we won’t, but oh yes. The park is only open four months a year. We have a lot of extra ranger time on our hands. Just try us, champ.

* Ref. also nearby signage: “Plants, Do Not Be a Dick to”


HOW TO SURVIVE A BEAR ATTACK

In case of bear attack, you should calmly back away, taking care not to further upset the bear. If this is ineffective, you should speak in a clear and assertive voice to the bear, which may cause the bear to retreat. If the bear does not retreat, you should use bear spray as a last resort to repel it.

If this does not work, you’re probably screwed. But just in case, here’s some advice.

To survive an attack, you must determine the species of bear involved. The park has black bears and grizzly bears; black bears may be brown, and grizzly bears may be black. Both species are “grizzly”, compared to most humans who are not Zach Galifianakis. And both species vary widely in terms of size. These characteristics can thus not be reliably used for identification.

To identify the species of bear, note the size of the claws. Grizzly claws are 3-4 inches long, while black bear claws are only one inch in length. If the bear threatening you is a black bear, you should fight back.

(This assumes that most of your delicate and sensitive bits are safely buried under at least an inch of clothes and flesh. The park recommends wearing several layers of parkas and ’80s-style leg warmers on summer hikes, for this reason.)

If the attacking bear is a grizzly, lie on your stomach and play dead, covering your face and neck with your arms. This method is most effective in repelling an attack if your arms are at least four inches thick. You may want to eat a lot of spinach and pick up a nemesis named ‘Bluto’ before visiting the park, as a safety precaution.

If playing dead is successful, the attack should be brief before the bear gets bored and wanders off. If playing dead is not successful, the attack will also be brief, because grizzly bears are freaking enormous and have those four-inch claws we talked about, so you can at least be solaced by the fact that “playing” dead was your best acting job ever, if also your last.

OH, AND HEY — ENJOY YOUR STAY IN THE PARK!

Permalink  |  1 Comment



One Response to “Glacier National Park Signs, Paraphrased”

  1. mark says:

    and I forgot you b-day, that I confess always reminds me of bidet, in case you need (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet). Oh yeah, but not your b-day per se, the word b-day. Ok fine happy bidet.

    Paolo

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