According to grizzly bear experts, a grizzly bear not only considers what is his, his, but what is your as his. Growing up two brothers and a six-foot two Dad, and later, a six-foot four nephew to take his place, I understand this fact of life all too well. They have been known to break into homes, garages, garbage cans, and even cars in their search for sustenance. The bears, that is.
Watching two teenage brothers, and sometimes their friends, not to mention the father figure, devour everything in sight was an intimidating spectacle. There was no such thing as seconds for slow eaters at our dinner table. So I became a food hoarder. Always hungry at the start, and fearing nothing would be left for a second-helping, I overstocked on my food. But it always more than enough to satisfy me and I frequently had food leftover.
That’s when the grizzly bears appeared, growing and snarling because there was food leftover on my plate that they could have and would scarfed down their maws if it had been left in the serving dish. They declared I was very selfish and even my mother, though sympathetic, would scold me.
That was forty years ago and more. I now help myself to proper portions; I don’t hoard my food in fear of vultures flying away with it. In fact, recently I’ve had to “scale back” as my scale was telling me that I had exceeded my limits.
Argyle Fish and Chips Restaurant is a Scottish restaurant renowned throughout New Jersey for its excellent seafood menu. It’s so popular that groups hire their chefs to prepare meals on-site at their venues. I don’t know how the Scottish feel about it, but New Jerseyans love it.
Our local Methodist Church held a fish and chips dinner this week, featuring fish and chips from Argyle’s, cooked on-site. The church auditorium was packed with local seafood lovers. Mom decided she wanted to go there. My younger brother was working, but my older brother joined us.
As soon as the waitress set the plates on the table, my brother frowned and asked, “Mom, is this an all-you-can-eat deal?” We laughed at him and told him, “Nooooo.” Now this filet was a pretty big piece of fish. It overhung the dish on both sides. Clearly, it wasn’t going to satisfy my brother’s bearish appetite.
He finished his fish and his french fries (chips) in record time. Soon he was looking avidly at my mother’s plate. But Mom is 86 years old. You don’t mess with a Mama Grizzly, although the fact is he didn’t want to take it because she’s looking thinner and frailer than she used to and doesn’t eat much. She would have given practically the whole thing to him if he’d asked.
When I saw him eying her plate, I knew trouble was coming. He couldn’t very well beg or intimidate or tablemates, who happened to be former schoolmates of mine. His ursine eyes to me and my fish dish. Here we go again, I thought. His eyes narrowed into a sneer. I was instantly reminded of a photo of a bear a friend of mine, took. I remembered looking at the picture and thinking the eyes looked so human, somehow, and so familiar. Now I knew why.
“You’re not going to eat all that fish, are you?” he growled. It wasn’t so much a question as a command. Looking down at the plate, I thought: I certainly had intended to; it’s delicious. “We know you’re not going to eat all that,” he continued, more threateningly.
Who was “we?” Our younger brother wasn’t there. Dad’s up in heaven someplace watching a boxing match or reading the New York Times. The Nephew is up at school. Mom wasn’t paying attention and would have turned into a Mama Grizzly if she’d known he was about to steal my fish.
My brothers operate under the delusion that I’m still seven years old, trying to guard my meager plate from their encroachment, reaching crane-like for whatever was still in front of me. If I hadn’t finished eating by the time they finished, it certainly meant that I was done. As far as they were concerned. He was finished with his fish, which meant I’d better be done with mine.
‘You are SO pathetic,” I thought. It’s not that I can’t finish this; you just want more and can’t find any other way to get more. It was so fascinating, he was such a study in the psychology of the food chain, that I cut off half the fish and put it on his plate, along with my french fries. If I didn’t need the fish (which I did), I certainly need the french fries as I’m on a diet, and he was welcome to them.
He didn’t even thank me. He just looked away sulkily, too selfish himself to even realize how greedy – or at least hungry – he was. I had a lot of nerve making him feel guilty when I knew what a poor eater I was – in the second grade. My classmates saw all this. I was quite thin when we were little and now they knew how I’d gotten that way.
He reminds me of the Liberals who constantly throw the past up in Conservative’s faces. Even though the Civil Rights Era was some 40 years ago, the exact same time my brothers were conniving me out of my dinner. They tell us Conservatives that we’re too wealthy and don’t need all our income and would never use it anyway, as I would never finish all the food on my plate.
It’s just unfair. The poor, like bearish brothers, are more in need than their wealthy, thin sisters. There are more of them, just as there was more of my older brother. Considerably more. Naturally, their needs were greater. It was only fair to take away from those who didn’t need it and give to those who did.
The Liberals, like my older brother, think nothing of castigating Conservatives for their harsh, selfish attitudes. We’re so selfish that they feel they must make charity compulsory. In 1913, the income tax was established, although not every state accepted it. Then came Social Security in the 1930s and welfare and Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. It was an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of entitlements. As a result, our government is seriously bloated, out-of-shape, and out of control.
Obama said just today that, “The government is the only one who can do anything, fix anything, run anything.” Something like that. Was it a promise or a threat or a command? They don’t create jobs; they create cribs into which they place a swaddled public. We don’t need any help cutting our meat, finishing our dinner, or taking of ourselves. The latest news is that we will have to get prescriptions from our doctors for all over-the-counter remedies.
California is always the leader in the latest socialist fads, like legalizing marijuana. After dinner last night, I now understand why the grizzly bear is on their state flag.