I felt a visceral surge of commiseration when I read an Alaska woman was bit from below as she sat pants-down on the seat of her Arctic outhouse. A neighborhood bear had been hibernating in the pit.
The woman, Shannon Stevens, said, “I got out there and sat down on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt.”
I’ve had days like that — and I’m talking from the bear’s POV.
You go to great lengths to secure solitude and then a stranger with crappy intentions drops in from out of the blue.
And that’s a purely metaphorical expression; the woman’s behind probably sealed off any ambient outhouse light, a rare case of a human moon causing an earth-bound eclipse.
So the bear was just defending himself. Really, Stevens is fortunate the bear didn’t shoot her — I’ll leave it up to you to craft a joke about the right to bear arms versus the right to arm bears.
I marvel at the salesmanship that convinced your average bear of the benefits of wintering in an Alaskan outhouse — in fact, in the “basement” of an outhouse.
I wonder how the bear got in there. Head first? Shimmy in?
I have the feeling that’s one man cave where if you lose the remote, well, it just stays lost.
Stevens’s brother, Erik, heard the screams and came running with his headlamp. I’m glad he was there for reasons that have nothing to do with heroism. See, the guy’s a terrific storyteller. Feast on this …
“I opened the toilet lid and there’s just this bear face right there at the level of the toilet seat, just grinning right back up through the hole, right at me,” he said. “I just shut the lid as fast as I could. I screamed, ‘There’s a bear down there and we need to get out of here right now!’ And we ran back to the yurt as fast as we could.”
I don’t know the security measures afforded by your typical yurt, but it sounds like one of those dwellings constructed entirely out of rusty screen doors.
And think of how much more harrowing this story would be had a groggy Erik gone first. Imagine him — fly down, penis dangling — lifting that chilly lid to find those gleaming teeth.
I imagine they’d have heard him scream clear through Vancouver.
In the end, it all turned okay, well, Shannon’s end’s probably still tender.
How she and her brother will ever overcome the terror-induced chronic constipation likely to result from the memories is difficult to gauge.
What became of the bear is unknown. He was gone the next morning.
Where he went no one know, but I imagine he left behind a comment card filled with offensive opinions. A real stinker.
Interested in learning more? I am.
I suggest we start by scanning the on-line reviews at BearB&B.