Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Trapper and the Bear. A short story.

I wrote this a while ago and kind of forgot about it. Thought I'd see what you folks thought. If I remember right the idea just popped into my head one night and I wrote it in one sitting. It has a religious message, but hopefully it will work for anyone. Anyway here it goes.

In the forest there is a Trapper. He was cunning and smart. He knew where the bears liked to go and what they liked to eat. It was said that no bear could ever escape the Trapper. He was just too smart, too cunning, and too powerful.

In this same forest there was there was a Ranger. The Ranger cared about the bears. He loved them and tried to protect them from the Trapper. He put up fences and signs to warn them. He picked up traps and pointed them out when ever he found them. Who knew to well the danger of the Trapper. He spent every day trying to save as many of the bears as possible from him, but not many bears paid attention to the ranger.

One day a bear was walking through the woods. He smelled something good and wanted to find out what it was. He walked through the forest following his nose. He passed one sign stuck to a tree that said, "DANGER: TRAPPER AHEAD. TURN BACK!" The bear thought for a moment about turning back and remembered that the Ranger had put up this sign and the Ranger was nice and always helped the bears. In the end the smell was too much for the bear. "Something that smells this good can't be bad", he thought to himself. He decided he couldn't stand it any longer, and kept on following his nose.

He moved deeper and deeper into the woods. Pretty soon he came to a fence. The ranger had put the fence up too. "The Ranger won't mind if I just go past this one time", thought the bear. "After all I just want to find out what smells so good, then I'll come right back. So he decided to keep going and he climbed over the fence.

The bear was really deep in the forest now. The trees were so thick that it almost seemed that it was night time. The bear started to feel a little scared, but he couldn't stop. He knew that he was getting close to the smell, because it kept getting stronger and stronger. In fact he could almost taste it. Then he saw it. It was honey! Lot's of honey. There were several large honey combs sitting on top of a small bush. They were dripping with honey and not a single bee in sight. The bear hesitated for a moment. Maybe the Trapper had put this here, after all hadn't the Ranger warned them that the Trapper liked to trick bears. "Surely the Trapper wouldn't have come this far to trick just one bear?" he thought. After thinking about it a while he finally decided he would try it. The bear walked up to the honey comb opened his mouth and took a bite, but it sure didn't taste as good as it smelled. "This isn't real honey!" he cried, but it was too late. As he stepped back to turn and run he stepped on a large bear trap hidden in the brush. The steel jaws closed around his leg. He had never felt so much pain before. He tried to shake it off, but the more he shook the more it hurt. The trap was attached to a long chain that was rapped around a tree so that he couldn't run away. "Why didn't I listen to the Ranger?' he shouted.

"You don't need the ranger" said a voice from behind.

"Who said that?" asked the bear. Then he noticed across the clearing another bear stuck in a trap.

The bear was grey and ragged. He was lying down and had a chain attached to his trap too, but it was shorter and much thicker. "Doesn't that trap hurt you?" asked the bear as tears began to roll down his face. "No the trapper gives me a special drink and I don't feel the pain", said the grey bear. He keeps me here where I'm safe and comfortable. The Ranger tried to rescue me, but I would rather stay here and not feel the pain from the trap."

"But you still have a trap on your leg", said the bear. "You can't go anywhere with that chain attached."

"Yes, but at least I know that I will never have to feel any pain again and the Trapper will always give me my special drink" said the grey bear.

"Aren't you afraid he will eat you?"

"The Trapper gave his word that he wouldn't and that's enough for me".

The bear wasn't so sure that a person who would trick bears and trap them could be trusted, but maybe the Trapper would help him too. He needed help fast because the trap really hurt and he didn't know if would ever be able to escape. Maybe the Ranger would save him, but then again the Ranger had tried to warn him. Maybe the Ranger would think he deserved what he got. The bear lay down and covered his face with his paws and wished he had never come into the woods today.

"There, there", said a new voice. "It will be ok. I can help you. This trap doesn't have to hurt you. Let me give you this drink and you will feel all better."

The bear looked up and saw a man all covered in bear skin clothes. He was a nice enough looking man, but the bear was sure he knew who this must be. "You…you're the Trapper, aren't you?'

"I am, and you are a bear who looks like he could use some help. Let me give you this special drink and you'll feel all better again."

"How do I know you won't eat me or make me into a coat?' said the bear.

"I give you my word I won't" "These are from bad bears. They tried to hurt me. I had to make them into coats to warn the other bad bears. Besides you are a nice bear and I wouldn't do that to you. Now here take this drink and it will be all better.

The bear had to think. The Trapper seemed like he was trying to help. He wanted to make him to feel better. On the other hand he was wearing bearskin clothes and he had been the one to trap him in the first place. What could he do? The only way to stop the pain seemed to be to take the drink. Would it really help? Would he be there forever like the other bear? Would the Ranger save him?

The Trapper poured a drink from his canteen into a bowl and set it in front of the bear. What could he do? The pain was almost unbearable now and he had to stop it. Just before he was about to drink the drink the Ranger stepped out into the clearing. "Stop!" he said in a commanding voice. "Do not harm this bear Trapper!"

The bear was surprised. Usually the Ranger was very quiet and never became angry.

"Come now Ranger this bear is hurt and I am only trying to help".

"You know very well Trapper that you intend to eat this bear and make him into clothes like you have all the other bears before him including the grey bear over there." "You will keep him there attached to that tree until you need new clothes. Then you will take him back to your cabin and eat him."

"He's lying", said the grey bear.

"The trapper gave his word and he hasn't eaten me yet. Besides if he were going to eat me why would he help me?"

"He's only helping you so he can fatten you up to eat you. When the time is right he will take you to his cabin. I warned you before, but you will not listen".

"There is still someone I can save. I can save this bear."

With that he bent low and moved the bowl away from the bear. He patted him gently on the head and wiped away his tears.

"Bear, I know that you are in pain. I know that you feel ashamed about not listening to my warning and getting trapped here, but I can help you get better too. It won't be easy, but you will be a free bear. You won't have to be tied to a tree and I will show you how to find all the real honey you could ever want. You just have to do as I say. I love you bear. Will you let me help you?"

"Don't listen to him", said the Trapper. "He just wants to make a pet out of you. He wants to keep you for his own and lock you away in a cage somewhere. I'll keep you safe here in the forest where you belong. All you have to do is drink."

What was the bear to do? On the one hand the Trapper could offer him immediate relief from his awful pain and he had promised not to eat him. Would he really keep his promise or would he just keep him safe for a little while like the Ranger said?

On the other hand the Ranger said he could help him find real honey. It sounded hard, but the Ranger seemed to really want to help him. He didn't want to just numb the pain, but he wanted heal his pain and set him free. Finally he decided.

"Ranger I am very sorry I didn't listen to your warnings. I just wanted to see what the nice smell was. In the end it was a trick. I should have listed to you. Can you ever forgive me? Do you still love me?"

The Ranger bent down and released the trap from the bear's leg. Then he threw his arms around the bear's neck and said, "Of course I forgive you. You could never do anything so bad that I wouldn't love you. Come with me and I will heal you".

The bear's leg still hurt, but he knew that it would heal. It also felt good to know that he was free from the trap and with the Ranger who loved him. He limped out of the woods and back to the Rangers home where he was nursed back to health. The Ranger taught the bear how to find a safe place where there was always honey and the Trapper could never find him. The grey bear was never heard from again, but the Trapper was seen that winter with a new grey coat.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Universe is out to get me.

Do you ever feel like the Universe is conspiring against you? Not conspiring in such a way as to kill you, but more like trying to amuse itself by making you completely miserable. For example, several times today websites that I tried to use to send long put off messages decided that the service I wanted was quote, “temporarily unavailable”. This was of course a complete load of crap and clearly a conspiracy. The Universe has a knack for using seemingly circumstantial circumstances to utterly mess with meme. Today, for example, the Universe decided to play a clever trick on me using a change machine.
First I should mention that I bashed me knee pretty good 2 days before while playing soccer and therefore I was pretty good and sore. That being said I had to go to the airport to pick up my brother-in-law Jerry, who was flying in from Houston. I knew I was going to need change for the airport parking meters, but all I could find was a flimsy $5 bill. Had I known then what I know now I would have exchanged that flimsy $5 bill for a nice crisp one at a gas station or better yet changed it for quarters. Of course conspiring against me as the Universe was I was kept unaware that this would eventually be the catalyst for a rather annoying, yet slightly amusing proof of that conspiracy.
I arrived at the airport and found a nice parking space close to the pick-up area. I should have realized then that the traffic had been too nice and things had gone too smoothly thus far for nothing to go wrong, but I didn’t. I knew of a change machine that was close to my car and I limped over to it with my $5 bill in hand. Of course this machine, being nice and close, and highly convenient was not working. Again this should have been a clue. I looked around and across the parking lot and spotted the next closest change machine. I wasn’t looking forward to having to walk all the way there and back on my gimp leg, but I didn’t fancy getting parking ticket either. Therefore I hobbled over to the new group of change machines with my conspicuously flimsy $5 bill, chose a machine (which I thought to be random at the time, but should have realized it was all a set up) and inserted it in the machine.
At this point there are 3 things I really wish I would have known before I inserted the $5 bill into the house of horrors that was this change machine
The 1st thing I wish I would have known is that Jerry, whom you remember I was there to pick up, was already on his way out of the airport at this point and was approaching the passenger pick up area for the first time. He related to me later that he had come all the way out, gone back in and then come back out again before finding me. Had I just stood by the machines I would have met up with him within minutes. Had I known this I never would have inserted my oh so floppy $5 bill into the machine.
The 2nd thing I wish I would have known is that a parking meter attendant did at no point during my ordeal, check my minuteless parking meter. Of course not knowing this I fretted the entire time that I would indeed get a parking ticket. I would have had to argue with them that the whole thing was their fault. This my friends is how the Universe gets you. It distracts you with the fear of a logical disaster so that is can sucker punch you with the outrageously improbable real disaster. The unexpected and cruel nature of the actual disaster is always more exciting and amusing for the Universe. I should have known that the imaginary argument with the parking authorities was never going to happen, but I didn’t. Had I known that I never would have inserted my ill mannered $5 bill into the machine.
The 3rd and final thing I wish I would have known was that there is a certain machine (this was later pointed out by a nice, though slow to arrive bicycle parking authority officer) that readily accepted those misfit bills, such as the one I carried, with absolute love and tenderness. No awkward questions or background checks. It just welcomes them in and even pays you their full worth in nice shiny coins for your trouble. I did later wonder why all of the machines in the parking lot were not of this same type. I think there are a few logical, though somewhat perturbing reasons. For one if there were no nasty, rotten, I’m going to help the Universe get one up on you machines then we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones. Also the Universe hates me and had to make sure I wouldn’t get off that easy. I would have chosen the nice friendly machine had it not been tucked behind a pillar close to, but apart from the foreboding machines and out of sight. Had I know this I never would have inserted my ragamuffin $5 bill into the macine.
Being horribly unaware of all these factors I carelessly and without thought for my own well being inserted the now infamous $5 bill into the machine. What happened next will forever replay not only in my mind, but on the Universe’s personal DVR. The bill entered the machine quite rapidly and with unexpected ease. I thought that surely my luck couldn’t be that good. It wasn’t. After a slight pause and whirring of gears that gave me false hope that the bill had been accepted and given a new home, it was rejected. When I say rejected I do no simply mean that the bill was returned to me for another attempt. That of course would have been normal. It would be slightly bothersome, but not unexpected given the condition of the bill I was using. That of course would not be enough for the diabolical appetite of the Universe. Instead the $5 bill exited the machine as quickly as it had entered and because of the pre-prepared flimsy nature of the bill it drooped as it shot out. This caused the bill to slip into a cozy gap between the bill feeder and the casing door of the machine. The bill was now completely inaccessible to me. I’m sure at this point the Universe had the kind of laughing fit the either caused him to spit out the beverage he had just begun to drink, snort the beverage he was drinking up his nose, or if he had no beverage to simply snort. I’m sure that if it hadn’t been for the cacophony of noise in the parking lot at the time I probably would have heard that snort.
At this point I felt utterly flabbergasted. I’d never seen anything like it. Sure everyone has probably had a bill or a number of coins taken by a machine and not been given their intended beverage, snack, or sticky rubber toy man that rolls down windows until it gets too dirty and is never the same again. This however was astonishingly new. The ungrateful bill decided to flip me the bird before heading back inside through the trap door. I thoroughly expected to hear a loud, “Tadah!”
This would have been a really good time to know that Jerry was about to arrive right next to where I was. Of course I did not. Instead I was directed by a janitor to the parking authority that is down stairs and below my car from which I had walked across the garage. First of all who knew there was such a thing as the airport parking authority? Secondly who knew, without having been there first that they have in office in a surprisingly convenient building in the parking garage itself? Thirdly I know exactly who knew that I would have to walk down stairs and then across the parking garage on a sore knee to get there. The Universe of course. I think at this point my knee became a little resentful of Universe as well.
In the office I was greeted by a uniformed parking authority officer who seemed to be genuinely bewildered (an act) as I was by what happened. What he instructed me to do next didn’t and still doesn’t seem to have any logical bearing on the solution to my dilemma. I am sure though that the officer and the Universe are both now sharing a tub of popcorn and having a good snorting laugh about the whole thing.
The officer politely asked me which change machine it had been that had stolen my bill. I explained that it was near the elevators and close to the right hand side. These general terms were not enough for this new conspirator. He wanted the actual letter and number combination labeled on the change machine. Had I known that such a thing existed. Had I known that I was going to in fact need it. Had I known that the officer was about to send me to call him from a phone (hidden mind you, hidden) just out of sight from the offending change machine I could have saved myself a great deal of walking. He did in fact tell me to call him from a phone upstairs after I had retrieved the number of the change machine that had so insensitively taken my $5 bill. After which, he said he would send someone to help.
I nearly left the office before having to have this repeated to me again. You see he logic alarm in my subconscious had suddenly blared; the only result of this was the forgetting the flipping number he said to call with. The alarm sounded again as I called the officer up on the bright white courtesy phone, which I found with some difficulty. This time when the alarm sounded (I had indeed found the number for the evil change machine) I promptly forgot the number on the change machine and had to excuse myself as I ran (hobbled quickly) back across the elevators to the machine and get the number again. After hanging up the phone I labored back to the spot where the machines were and felt their mocking stairs as I waited for help to arrive. This is when I realized what my logic alarm had been trying to tell me. It first told me that the Universe had hardwired a memory eraser to my alarm bell so that every time it sounded I would forgot what it was I was trying the hardest to remember at the time. I would have been surprised by this if it weren't for the fact that the Universe had already done this to all the alarms in my body. Well in truth the Universe has a button remotely attached to these alarms that he can push at random just for kicks.
The slightly less important thing that my logic alarm was trying to tell me was that the officer whom I had just hung up with had no real reason to know the exact machine that had tempted away my prodigal $5 bill. All he needed to know was where I was going to be and the person he would then send to help could simply ask me which machine it was. There was no reason for him to have me call him from an out of the way upstairs phone when he simply could have called ahead for help and it would have arrived all that much sooner. The only possible explanation is that this machine was prepared to do this to me. The Universe directed me to this one machine. The number on the machine was important to identify me, and not the machine. This to me is the final proof that the officer was in on the whole thing.
So there I stood waiting for some unknown person to come and fix the specific machine which I so very much wanted to melt down and use for bullets to shoot the Universe with. I was worried that I was keeping Jerry waiting. I was worried that I was going to get a parking ticket and have to have the aforementioned argument. I was also worried that I would step away to check to see if either event had occurred and thereby miss the person coming to help me. This was compounded by the fact that I had no idea what the person he was sending might look like and for that matter he had no idea what I would look like. The help finally did arrive in the form of a bicycle parking authority officer. Apparently they are the kind of officers who would normally give parking tickets, but had been given the order to lay off my car by the Universe to serve as a distraction. This is also the kind of person who delivers the news that there is a nice friendly change machine that accepts bills of all types such as the one he helped me retrieve after opening the unfriendly machine that stole my bill.
The machine was indeed everything I ever dreamed of and gave me $5.Not in the form of a whimpy bill too good for his own home, but in stately quarters that neither parking meter nor vending machine could deny. This was good money, dependable money. It was money that $0.75 of which I was about to waste due to a carefully laid plan by the Universe itself.
I finally had my change. I have no idea how long it took, but it was long enough to give the Universe a good video for his greatest hits compilation. I was therefore happy to insert my change into the parking meter. The question, of course, is always of how much money to put in. Too little and you might get a parking ticket; it would only happen if you weren’t expecting it too. Too much change and you waste whatever time is left over. In my case any money was too much money. As I haplessly put my 3rd quarter into the machine I saw Jerry walk out into the passenger pick-up area. I walked towards him reasoning all the while that the next person who parked there would be much more fortunate than I had been. That at least made something good of the whole thing right? Of course not. I felt stupid, as was the intention of the Universe all along. I felt even stupider after having crossed over from my car to the pick-up area when I noticed that Jerry had done the opposite without having seen me. I was now following him and shouting out the last bit of dignity I had left to got his attention. I crossed over and together we went to the car.
You see when the Universe is out to get you it is unavoidable. The Universe sort of runs everything. So while I am not surprised that the Universe would or could do something like this, I do marvel at the many different ways it finds to screw with me. I have for many years tried to fight back. Today I think I shall surrender and say to the Universe, “Well played Universe. Well played.”
The bruised knee mentioned in my blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

HONESTLY!(Crosses fingers)

I was thinking today that I it would be nice to get away with the sort of honesty that folks like Russia, China, and Bill Clinton get away with. My nephew Travis does it quite well actually and is quite good at it. He is so brasen in his lying that he will lie to you while in the act of what ever you are acusing him of.
I am really amazed by Russia.. These guys are blowing my mind. They remind me of my kids. They are currently in Georgia kicking butt and taking prisioners if you will, but assure everyone they are leaving. In fact the last headline I just read said,"Russia digs trenches, sets up mortars but promises pullout". That's like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. You say to the kid, "Hey get your hand out of the cookie jar". and the kid says, "Ok" and proceeds to take the cookie out of the jar in front of you and starts to eat it. Then of course you say, " Hey, I said stop!" You then take the cookie and tell the kid to get out of the kitchen. The kid insists he will and then takes another cookie and leaves and stands in the kitchen entryway. You finally decide that the kid will eventually leave the kitchen when he is good and ready and hope he leaves some cookies. Why can't we get away with that with bills. You know they send you a bill and you don't pay it, but say you have. You keep doing this until eventually they decide that you will when you are good and ready and they hope they get some money someday.

Why can’t my hair make the news?

Does anyone else aspire to be so interesting a person that their hair makes the news?

Apparently if you work hard and become an actor or singer or whatever and you have good, bad, or new hair that's news. Could be a major flood in your town or someone died, but hey Katie Holmes has a new hairdo and that is top news. It's to bad your hair can't make the news before your famous. I imagine one day stepping out of the barber shop and out of no where there is the paparazzi shooting pictures and shouting for a quote and as I go to speak, they say, "Not you! We want the hair"! Of course I would feel a little sad, but really proud of my hair.

Things I realized. Including AM PM hates itself.

Late at night I believe I can accomplish anything and then I wake up to realize morning has made a coward of me again.
My refrigerator and my tomato are conspiring to drive me insane. My fridge has a vegetable drawer and a fruit drawer. A tomato is classified as fruit, but we treat it like a vegetable. I can't figure out which drawer to put the tomato in to achieve optimum freshness. It could make no difference at all, but that just adds to my confusion.
If I wrote down every crazy thought that came to my head I might well be the funniest man alive. Of course I wouldn't have time for anything else because, as I am sure my wife would tell you all my ideas are crazy.
According to their own commercials I am not allowed to have anything from AM PM. The commercial says, "You can never have too much good stuff." Directly afterward it shows the AM PM logo with the slogan "Too Much Good Stuff" directly below it. Now follow me here. If AM PM=too much. Then in the number sentence, you can never have "X".you can substitute "X" with "too much good stuff" or AM PM. Therefore we can change the original sentence too: You can never have AM PM. Do they secretly hate their own heat lamp cooked food?

God’s radio station?

I saw this bumper sticker the other day and thought it was kind of funny. It seems to me that this bumper sticker claims that this radio is in fact God's personal radio station. That is a pretty big claim in my estimation. Granted God does see and hear all, but there is a diffrence between hearing and listening and I just wonder if God is really glued to his radio to listen to these guys. This reminds me of those bumper stickers that say something like , "In case of Rapture this car will be empty". To me these folks need to check their flight plans again. This is of course a christian idea and yet not such a christion additude. It's kind of like saying, "See ya suckers, enjoy hell!" To me not really kind. Maybe it should read, "In case of rapture I hope you're not around to read this".