Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Musings on Vacations for Teddy Bears

As readers may have gathered from my last post, I did not find Ozzie and Harriet's vacation relaxing. Usually, I look forward to Ozzie's trips, since it affords me the time to catch up on my own reading. However, this person-free period involved a large number of teddy bears and the repeated viewing of insipid children's programming. Ironically, I found the experience so draining that I welcomed the respite offered by the return of Ozzie and Harriet.

This experience raises the question of what it would mean for a teddy bear to go on vacation. The genus ursa teddae is typically characterized by lethargy. If one naps for 75% of the day, then the purpose of vacation could not very well be further relaxation. Thus, we must conclude that -- excuse me -- we conclude -- pardon me -- the conclusion -- fine, what is it, Wagsy? (um ... whisper) Surely not. (confident whisper) I was speaking in generalities, but I suppose your point is worthy of mention. Wagsy has just informed me that he could nap for more than 75% of the day, and he finds that six hours of activity are quite draining. So I suppose a few bears might use vacation time to catch up on sleep. However, ON AVERAGE, it stands to reason that teddy bears would use vacation to seek out adventure and new experiences.

This leads to a secondary question, namely, what would constitute adventure for a teddy bear? Personally, I would enjoy sitting on a well padded wing-back chair in a library and reading. After many years of tea parties, tree climbing, swimming, and flying, I have come to the conclusion that physical adventure is best experienced through the written word. Reading allows one to share most of the exhilaration of danger without nausea, tears, or water insects. However, my desires may be idiosyncratic and unrepresentative of bear utility functions more broadly. To get a sense of the diversity of teddy bear opinion, I conducted short interviews with readily available bears. I recognize the sample is non-random, however, the study represents a cursory pursuit of a momentary whim and requires no greater rigor. To protect the identity of the subjects, I have replaced names with aliases.

Galbraith: Um ... I think I'd like to go to a bedding store. Oooh ... can you imagine an entire acre of comfy beds and new sheets? It would be verrry nice. Yeah, yeah. That is where I'd go ... um ... a bedding store.

Smith: My dear, sir, I vacation frequently. My business takes me to some of the most relaxing areas of the world and I take full advantage of that fact. I never mix business with pleasure, but once the business is finished, I see no reason why I should not sit on a chaise lounge enjoying a fresh sea breeze.

Gabor: Oh my god, I'd totally go to the hottest cities in the world. New York, London, Paris ... maybe Milan or Berlin, like it totally depends on what is happening in each city ya know? And like when I was there, I would meet with the most awesome fashion designers and hang with models and go clubbing. But since hangin' with fashionable people and being see at swanky night spots is part of my job description, being a celebrity and all, or at least, that is my career goal, ya know, like I don't know if it would be a vacation, cuz like I'd be doing my job. And that would really bite if being a celebrity meant you could never go on vacation. Stars make so many sacrifices to bring us joy (and, yes, I'm only saying that to suck up, like stars seem to surround themselves with suck ups, I figure being a yes-aardvark isn't a bad way to get into the scene, then I could totally pull a Nicole Richie and be famous for being famous on my own).

Kerouac: Well, to be honest, I haven't given it much thought. You see, I'm in demand here and I don't have much time for travellin'. I suppose I'd want to go where there were interesting people who are bear friendly. That would limit my options, cuz there are some strange people out there, but very few would know how to treat a teddy bear. So I'd probably be hangin' with quirky, non-smoking women. Wait a minute, that sounds like a personal ad, and if there is one thing I don't need is a personal ad. Can you delete that? I don't want people getting the wrong idea about me. Give me that tape recorder!

At this point, I thought it prudent to bring the interviews to a close. As you can see, the definition of "adventure" changes based upon the individual personality of the bear in question. I suppose there may even be bears in the world who relish having a towel tied around one's neck and being thrown across the room (shudder).


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