That Time of the 2nd Month Again

It’s that time of the year again, chil’ren, and I don’t mean Valentine’s Day (in sad fact, it had completely slipped my mind that today was that day). No, what I’m talking about is IBR, or the International Bear Rendezvous.

I kid the bears, I chastise them, castigate them, praise them (they have their moments), embraced them (we’ve had our moments), pointed and laughed at them, been horrified (hairified?) by them, been…well, you get the picture. Pick a verb and, in horseshoe/grenade fashion, it’ll probably be “close enough” to true at some point.

This is usually the time when I go in for my annual Nair® full-body dip. It’s murder on the scrotum, but so’s wrongful complicity.

Or rather, I would be on my way to my appointment at the Little Ark dog grooming shop (they refit a fleadip tank just for me) except for something my 나물 닥터 (Korean Herb Doctor) said to me last week as she was shaving parts of my back so that the 불 단지 (Fire Jars/cupping) would form a seal and keep suction. She said, “All your food, all your nutrition! It go to brains and growing hair!” Then she laughed and showed me a new straight razor with an expression that said, “you wore out the old one!”

I told her that since she had a new razor, to just go ahead and shave it all, not just where she needed to for the 불 단지. Why? Because I never really cared for the look.

“But it’s you,” she said, in a tone that—not seeing her face as I was face down on the table—conjured up a number of quite flattering (if also embarrassingly stereotypical) thoughts of Ancient Wisdom Being Passed Down. “Besides, it keep you warm in winter! No need for jacket!” And she laughed and laughed.

Since then, she’s prepared lunch for her and me after every appointment. My favorite is still the rice and kimchi porridge with anchovies and mungbean sprouts, along with a generous portion of her home-made kimchi (lots of garlic!).

I have discovered that if you are a ‘bear’, then be one. But don’t try to be more of one than you are, or less of one, for that matter. And remember that ‘bear’ is just a word and words are but labels and labels only phages for carrying memes outside of your mind and, inversely, bringing them into your mind. They are not you.

People who inhabit labels. Those are the ones that piss me off. That’s one of the frighteningly-few differences between a gathering and a mob: a gathering is a collection of individuals. The mob personifies the label.

So, IBR? A gathering or a mob? Neither! A rendezvous! Or a Vichy Rendezvous?

Let that, gentle readers, give you paws.

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