There are some people in this world who feel bad for polar bears. That’s fine. I occasionally catch myself feeling bad for Tim Tebow, so far be it from me to police anyone else’s sympathetic leanings.
But then there are some other people in this world who expect ME to feel bad about polar bears. They show me photos of polar bears floating away into the ocean on tiny, globally warmed, pencil-eraser-sized icebergs. They show me this photo as though it is a depiction of a kitten stuck in a tree, or an infant plopped carelessly atop the hood of a moving Camaro, or an indigenous culture crushed under the heel of the White Man’s boot. As though it were something to feel bad about it.
Listen: I don’t feel sorry for polar bears. Guess what? Tyrannosaurus Rex is fucking extinct, and I don’t feel sorry for him, either. So good luck getting me to shed any tears over a giant predator that’s feeling a little peckish.
One. They kill and eat baby seals.
How are more people not upset about this? We live in a culture where “clubbing baby seals” is shorthand for “doing terrible, awful, unforgivable things of which we must never speak.” And yet, somehow, the polar bears get a pass?
Well, NOT FROM ME.
Two. They would eat me, too, if given only half a chance.
I mean, without a second thought.
Conversely, I would never eat a polar bear. First, by the time the meat traveled far enough to land at my local grocery store, it probably wouldn’t be too fresh. And second, I bet polar bear meat is gamey as hell. Ugh… no, thanks.
Three. They refuse to establish a symbiotic relationship with arctic foxes.
Pay attention to this one, because somehow (AHEM, polar bears…?) the rumor got started that polar bears have a symbiotic relationship with arctic foxes. This is FALSE.
(Well, maybe they kind of do, but only by occasional chance. Like, only if the polar bears deign to leave a bit of meat on a carcass that an arctic fox happens to find. Real nice. Real “symbiotic.”)
Listen, foxes are the best. Foxes are one of the few animals, domesticated or not, I would really go to the mat for. Why won’t polar bears cooperate with foxes? Probably because polar bears are the worst.
Four. The Reaper is coming for all of us.
Here’s an inconvenient truth: Global warming is threatening my habitat, too. And here’s an uncomfortable question: What have polar bears done for me lately?
Go ahead and let me know whenever you figure that one out. I’ll just be sitting here, filing my nails. Waiting.
Five. If they’re so smart, why can’t they solve their own problems?
Polar bears are supposedly about as smart as an ape. Hey, you know what? So am I. And yet I’m the only one in this dynamic who’s being called upon to find solutions? Bullshit.
Six. It’s personal.
Once, when I was about five years old, I went to the natural history museum with my family. At one point, I turned around and came face-to-face with a taxidermied polar bear in full attack mode — standing on his hind legs, front legs lifted as if to strike, mouth open in a silent roar, glass eyes glittering with rage.
THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT.