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.
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-Herald. Use of the names of Baylor mascots in the story above does not constitute the endorsement by real bears of the actions described.