Bears in the Woods v. the Custodians

In lieu of a petition to the Waco City Council

Hidden deep among the cottonwood and cedar trees along the Brazos river, a meeting was being held of the Venerated Council of Sovereign North American Black Bears. While the business at hand was quite important, we use only first names to protect identities.

Bruiser: Order! Order! Come to order! What is our business today?

Joy: I have an idea for reducing poverty among the bear populations.

Joe: I have an idea for preserving the bear middle class!

Ted: I have an idea for attracting bees that produce more honey.

Bruiser: All great ideas. But we have one agenda item left from the last council meeting.

Joy: Surely it could not be more pressing than stopping the cycle of poverty!

Bruiser: Oh, much more important. It is an idea to save us 294,000 jars of honey a year.

Ted: Fantastic!

Joe: Too good to be true!

Bruiser: All we have to do is contract out the custodial work.

Ted: This is better than Pooh’s Spring Cleaning Mystery!

Joy: It’s a no brainer. We’d have to have fluff in our ears not to know that.

Bruiser: We get to pay someone else to pay the custodial bears for us.

Joe: They do it for free?

Bruiser: No, they take the smaller amount of honey we give them and they take some of it out for their trouble, but they let the custodial bears have the drops that are left.

Joy: I bet the custodial bears will be happy not to have to worry about having insurance cards to carry around anymore.

Ted: And no more having to count vacation days.

Joe: And no more having to find a place in a tree to store retirement statements.

Bruiser: This is the best idea we have ever had! We can use the honey we save to spread around to bring new businesses to the forest. When they open, they might create jobs that provide more honey to our fellow bears!

Joy: The problem with giving the custodial bears honey is that they will just use it up.

Ted: But what if the custodial bears get angry?

Joe: They claim to be working too hard to show up for our meetings, but I think that just proves that we should contract them out. They don’t care about us.

Bruiser: I’m sure one of those custodial bears will suggest contracting out this Venerated Council of Sovereign North American Black Bears. But that won’t happen — the other bears rely on us to protect their quality of life.

Joy: To attract new jobs with honey saved by cutting ones we already have.

Ted: Exactly! Even the custodial bears will be grateful once they realize that their losing honey, insurance, leave and retirement benefits might just maybe someday help create a job for another bear that provides all those things.

Joe: Let’s promise to use most of the honey we save for programs to stop bear poverty. That way even the do-gooder bears can’t complain.

Bruiser: It’s unanimous then. A round of tea and honey for everyone!

Joy: You have forgotten, Brother Bruiser, that we end all our meetings with a reading of a randomly picked verse from our Beloved Bear Bible.

Joe: (Flipping open the Beloved Bear Bible, putting his claw down) Here it is, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least paid of these bears, you refused to help me.”

Ted: Not sure what it means, but I like it.

Joy: As Pooh remarked, “They say nothing is impossible, but I did it today.”

This column originally appeared in the August 13, 2016 Waco Tribune-HeraldUse of the names of Baylor mascots in the story above does not constitute the endorsement by real bears of the actions described.

Trump apologizes! For all of it!

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump stunned the electorate last night with an extended apology. He did so without the sort of “mistakes were made” equivocation so often heard from establishment politicians. His confession was direct and full of humility.

“America, I ask you to forgive me,” he began, “for what I have done and what I have left undone. I humbly repent and promise to do better.” The apologyathon at his New York press conference was preceded by setting the social media world aflame by tweeting simply “I have sinned. #repenting.”

At the press event, Trump acknowledged a litany of what he labeled “offenses against God and man.”

“Forgive me, Capt. Khan, for insulting the honor of your sacrifice and your religion.

“Forgive me, Sen. Cruz, for alleging your father plotted with assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

“Forgive me, Sen. McCain, for calling you a loser for being a prisoner of war.

“Forgive me, Megyn Kelly, for using your gender to attack you for a tough question.

“Forgive me, Judge Curiel, for assuming your Latino heritage justified recusal.

“Forgive me, small-business colleagues, for cheating you out of money I owed you.

“Forgive me, Trump University graduates, for selling you a worthless degree.

“Forgive me, female reporters, for saying it doesn’t matter what you write as long as you’ve ‘got a young and beautiful piece of a–.’

“Forgive me, female soldiers, for saying sexual assaults were an expected result of letting women in the military.

“Forgive me, New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, for mocking your disability.

“Forgive me, women of American and Eastern Europe, for treating you like property.

“Forgive me, President Obama, for lying about where you were born and suggesting you like it when terrorists attack us.

“Forgive me, African-Americans and Jews, for saying I didn’t want ‘black guys counting my money,’ instead only ‘little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.’

“Forgive me, women of childbirth age, for saying that if you get an abortion, ‘There has to be some form of punishment.’

“Forgive me, Hillary Clinton, for claiming that you made a deal with the devil and are the devil.

“Forgive me, Ivanka, for describing you by saying, ‘What a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father …’ and saying that if you weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating you.

“Forgive me, Mexican immigrants, for suggesting you are nearly all rapists and other kinds of criminals.

“Forgive me, Muslims in New Jersey, for suggesting you cheered the 9/11 attacks.

“Forgive me, Rosie O’Donnell, for saying you were a fat pig and disgusting animal.

“Forgive me, citizens of Ukraine, for falsely claiming Putin did not invade you.

“Forgive me, Republican primary colleagues, for calling you low-energy, ugly to look at, little, fat, big-eared, embarrassing and disgusting.

“Forgive me, Univision, Washington Post and Huffington Post, for revoking your press access simply because I could not take criticism.

“Finally, forgive me, God and good citizens, for never having ever asked for forgiveness before in my life.”

The apologies caused an immediate spike in the polls, with Trump taking a 15-point lead. In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan declared: “This, this is the Donald Trump we have all waited for, that we knew was in there, waiting to come out. God bless America, and God bless Donald Trump.”

Within minutes of Trump’s pronouncement, Hillary Clinton tweeted: “It’s satire. #duh.”

This column originally appeared in the August 4, 2016 Waco-Tribune Herald, where David is a member of the Board of Contributors.