You know you've made it in the world when someone dressed as a black bear in a sailor's cap is stalking you.
Journalists get various promotional kits from a wide range of organizations all the time. Most of the time, it's a small magazine or pamphlet, but it's occasionally something like seafood seasoning -- or tuna.
The promotional item which spawned this column was a small magazine, though. It's called "Animal Times," and it's the periodical piece distributed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Well, whenever you have a headline like "PETA 'Bear' crashes royal party" on the cover, it's going to catch some attention. Lets be honest, how many times do you hear about a "bear" crashing a party? Odds are that, unless the party is being thrown by "Grizzly Adams," it's not going to happen very often.
In this case, "Animal Times" had a two-page spread on the "PETA Bear" following England's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, around the Caribbean. The bear, which PETA identifies as a female, carried a sign which said "Bear Hugs, NOT Bear Hats" in some pictures. In other pictures, "she" carried a PETA life preserver, which said "Save my skin."
At this point, I really should describe the "PETA Bear." She is tall, and kind of skinny by black bear standards. She has droopy eyes and a long brown snout, like the cartoon canine character, "Droopy."
At one point, she claims to have been one of the three bears whose home was "invaded" by Goldilocks. Guess what, "PETA Bear," Goldilocks thought your porridge was too cold, and your bed was too small.
She really looks sad, though, and not in a "I'm sad because my 'cousins' are getting butchered to make cool hats," kind of sad, either. It's more like she is chronically depressed and needs to be jacked up on Prozac for Bears.
You see, the "PETA Bear" was protesting the killing of black bears in Canada for the purpose of making those tall, black, furry hats worn by the guards at Buckingham Palace in London.
The "PETA Bear" is identified as a cousin of the bears being killed in Canada. The difference is that the Canadian black bears cannot sport a sailor's cap and protest people. Therefore, seeing the "PETA Bear" spread was sort of a "Planet of the Bears"-type moment.
But, she really loves Bob Marley. There is a picture of her hugging a Bob Marley statue in Kingston, Jamaica. Some how, though, I don't think the reggae master was thinking about the "PETA Bear" when he sang "Get up! Stand up... Stand up for your rights!"
She was eventually arrested, though, so that ended her royal stalking escapades.
My question is why is a "PETA Bear" stalking people? If that bear stalked me, I'd be more inclined to laugh at her than think "You know, I should really consider the animals' feelings more often."
If these activist groups think stalking someone is the way to create change, they are sadly mistaken. For many people, stalking is not an action which should ever be taken up by someone. We too often hear stories about stalkers who take their obsession too far, and end up killing their stalkees.
Someday, PETA could send its bear to stalk someone who doesn't take kindly to being followed, and -- well -- we could be writing an obituary for the "PETA Bear" as a result.
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.