An interview with the Greensboro Bear

by Brian Clarey

The first bear was spotted a couple weeks ago in north Greensboro, and since then bear sightings have been reported in the Aycock Historical District, NC A&T University, a downtown train trestle, US 29 and a tree near Battleground Park. Meanwhile, the Greensboro Bear has established a Facebook page that has nearly maxed out the 5,000-friend allotment and a robust Twitter presence as the city finds itself in the grips of Bear Fever.

We encountered the Greensboro Bear at a dumpster behind a Lowe’s Foods near our offices, pawing his way through half-rotted produce, and were able to convince him to sit for a short, on-the-record interview.

YES! Weekly: So, what brings you to town?

Greensboro Bear: Well, I’d heard some good things from some of the other larger forest creatures. I knew a couple of cougars who came through this way — no, not that kind of cougar! Ha! No, these were actual cougars — big mountain cats. Anyway, they said there was plenty of wooded land and undeveloped space — what you people call “sprawl” I call my natural habitat. They said that people left all kinds of good food in their garbage cans. Of course they warned me that because I am technically a black bear that I might get some hassle from the cops if I was wandering downtown at night. Kidding! I would never go near downtown Greensboro at night anyway — the club scene just isn’t my thing.

Y!W: You seem to be making your way around town pretty well.

GB: Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not the only bear in town. That fellow on Battleground, that’s my cousin Gary — and he’s like half my size, so it’s surprising you got it confused. I guess we all look alike to you.

Y!W: No! It’s just —.

GB: Listen, I get it. You’ve all seen bears on TV nature specials, maybe you’ve caught a couple episodes of Yogi or been to the Bear Jamboree at Disney or, God forbid, seen one of those stuffed and mounted bears at a museum, but very few of you have ever interacted with a real bear, fed us some of your picnic lunch or had us over to the house. Whatever. I get it. Let’s just move on.

Y!W: Okay…. You’ve quickly amassed a following on Facebook and Twitter. To what do you attribute your popularity?

GB: Well it’s no secret that people love bears, always have. We’re in ancient mythology. There are constellations named for us. We go way back to the Goldilocks days — though, I’ll say, we didn’t come off so well in that little fairy tale, we did get some great PR when Teddy Roosevelt was president. Did you know he was the inspiration for the teddy bear? We’re cute in a furry, bumbling sort of way, so we’ve got that going for us. But also we’re among the baddest animals on the planet. Maybe over in Africa the lion is king of the jungle, but here in the wilds of North America it’s all bear. They don’t call us “ursa major” for nothing.

Y!W: Really?

GB: Oh yeah. I’m no grizzly, but even I can hold my own against the big cats and various antlered beasts in the wild around here. I mean… check out these claws. Sharp like knives, and still dexterous enough to poke out tweets. Look at my teeth. I can crack bones with these babies.

Y!W: So if, say, you were fitted with SCUBA gear and lowered into the ocean, you think you could take a shark?

GB: Seriously, dude, you are asking the wrong question. Even with the SCUBA gear, the shark has all the advantages of his natural environment. I’m fine with paddling through streams and lakes, but I can’t swim the open ocean, dumbass. The real question is whether a polar bear can take a shark. And the answer is: Absolutely. And if we’re in shallow water, I like my own chances as well.

Y!W: You’re certainly a fearsome animal.

GB: Well thanks. I do try. But I should say that the people of Greensboro have nothing to fear from me, or Gary for that matter. We’re just a couple bears passing through town on our way to greener pastures. If you see us around, don’t sweat it: We don’t eat people. People taste terrible, incidentally. Like McDonald’s left out in the sun. Frankly, I wouldn’t cross the street to eat a human, even if he was already dead. That being said, I would definitely eat your cat in a pinch, so keep those kitties locked up while we’re around.

Y!W: Good to know. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the people of Greensboro?

GB: Oh boy… I never know what to say when something like this comes up. How about this: We’re here. We’re bear. Get used to it.