Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!
Dear Dr. Eldritch,
My grandmother said that several people in her retirement home have been eaten by polar bears. She's always been sharp as a tack, so I couldn't believe she'd say anything so weird, but to humor her, I looked around the building, and there were these HUGE paw prints in the azaleas! I've asked the police about it, but nobody will admit anything. They'll warn us about crime and stuff, but when I bring up polar bears, they look tense and change the subject.
We can hardly go outside because of gangs and muggers, I'd hate to think that we have to worry about bears, too! What can I do to reduce my chances of being eaten?
-- Dale, in Miami, Florida
I feel your pain, but console yourself with the fact that you're brave enough to ask the right questions, and you can handle the truth. Yes, the destruction of natural habitat and encroachment of civilization have forced Ursus maritimus into the urban landscape. Law enforcement and the media try to keep it quiet, but polar bear attacks in urban areas across the country are now happening at a rate around fifty incidents daily. These attacks are officially attributed to "wild dogs" or "shaving accidents," so it's difficult to get a sense of their actual frequency. Last year there may have been sixty-three such incidents in the Dade County area alone, which means you have more chance of being eaten by a polar bear than you do of winning a lottery or dating a supermodel. To mangle a catchphrase from a commercial: "Polar bear attacks -- They're not just for the Arctic wasteland anymore."
To reduce your risk, follow these simple guidelines:
If you follow these rules, you'll also reduce your chances of being attacked or eaten by black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, marmots, coyotes, wapiti, and gila monsters. Remember that Life is inherently risky. While these precautions don't guarantee you won't become an unfortunate part of the "Circle of Life" at the claws of a thousand-pound predator, they make it more likely it will happen to someone else, and you'll live to see another day. And that, as the Nature Shows constantly remind us, is what it's all about.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Polar bears are wily hunters, so when the doorbell rings, look to see who's there before opening the door.
- If you must go outside, stay in your car as much as you can, park near your destination, and move quickly to get inside again.
- If you must travel on foot, especially after dark, surround yourself with people who are slower and weaker than you. You know what this means.
Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!
-- Dr. Eldritch