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"With the Great White Buffalo, they gonna make a final stand …"

A recent bear sighting, your very first, resulted in fully nine-tenths of your brain shutting down (because instead of respecting nature, you chased after it to get a closer look) and calls for revisiting several action plans for unplanned encounters.

This is because you got lucky. You weren't really in any danger but you certainly weren't thinking when you chased after a bear. It wasn't 'til the bear turned around to get a better look at you (most likely because this isn't the norm) that you realized that you had forgotten whether you're supposed to make eye contact, avoid eye contact, make yourself look bigger, put your left foot in or stop, drop and roll.

To better avoid these moments of brain-lock, let's review some basic situational responses.

1. Bears - Don't chase them. If you happen upon a bear, don't make eye contact. Walk away slowly and empty your pockets of all snack foods. If you come between a sow and her cub, try to hold the cub hostage.

2. Mountain lions - They will most likely see you before you see them but if you happen to run into one and it doesn't immediately attack, make yourself look bigger. In fact, if you're going to be in lion country, wear heels with a big hat and a tight sweater vest. Vertical stripes on your trousers can also give the impression that you are taller than you actually are.

3. Strangers in adjoining bathroom stalls - Never tap your feet outside of your own stall as you may end up getting a blowjob. When approached by a stranger from an adjoining bathroom stall, quickly dismiss the idea that you're gay.

4. Terminators - If you happen to be in a dark alley when a terminator appears from the future, simply hand over your clothing and avoid a painful death.

5. Dancers - Never agree to dance unless a dance floor is already packed. If you are asked to dance in a relatively empty establishment, immediately drop to the floor and grab at your Achilles tendon. Learn where your Achilles tendon is - you never know what kind of medical background a dancer may have.

6. Spiders - Shriek loudly. Repeat until the spider has been destroyed.

7. Shoeshine guy - When the shoeshine guy is pointing at your shoes, point to your ear buds in return. Never give the shoeshine guy the finger. In fact, wear your ear buds at all times on city streets and point to them whenever you're confronted by pollsters, homeless people, proselytizers and people selling stolen iPods.

8. That thing underneath your bed - Acknowledge the monster that lives under your bed and give it a name. Check carefully before getting out of bed. Speak low, loud and clear when calling out the name of the monster underneath your bed to let it know you don't fear it. The monster under your bed can smell fear and you should assume that it lives underneath your bed because it has bad self-esteem to begin with and is really only gaining respect from you. There are a lot of beds out there that don't have monsters underneath them. It's time for your monster to move on, no matter how difficult that might seem for a spider who's roughly the same size as a German Shepherd.

9. The Messiah - You may not know The Messiah but if you see anybody with an aura, assume it is The Messiah. Take out your ear buds and start repenting immediately. (Note - make sure it's the Messiah and not simply any old radioactive somebody.)

10. Professional athletes - Always make sure to ask for an autograph. Never jeer a professional athlete as even the lowliest bowler will probably make mincemeat out of your soft decrepitude.

11. Rabid squirrels - Never try to outrun a rabid squirrel. Trying to outrun a rabid squirrel will trigger the instinct to attack and rabid squirrels are supernaturally fast. If you're confronted by a rabid squirrel, accept your fate.

12. The person who issued a restraining order against you - While it may not be your fault, understand that the restraining order can send you right back to jail, no matter the coincidence that you just happened to show up at her yoga class. Avoid eye contact and the perception of anything creepy. If you see her pull out a phone, run and hide.

13. Sleestaks - Despite their large black bulging eyes, Sleestaks have very poor vision. Also, Sleestaks are notoriously slow. Unbelievably slow. You can outrun a Sleestak. Try to avoid caves in the future.

14. Mormons - Never make eye contact with a Mormon on a bicycle. Mormons ride bicycles so that they can always overtake you. Mormons can be dissuaded with cigarettes, crotch thrusts and outlandish threats.

-William Cadillac Donovan

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Mike Doughty



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