Friday, February 25, 2011

FF - Summer of Suzy

I am irrationally afraid of wild animals.

I don't think this was always the case.  I believe my fear stems from many summers spent in the woods working at a camp.  More specifically from the 2006:  The Summer of Suzy. 

Suzy is was a bear.  A black bear.  A black bear with cubs who spent the summer feasting from the dumpster on camp property. 

At the beginning of the summer M and J spent hours trying to creatively scare Suzy away from the dumpster.  They yelled and used air horns to no avail.  (They also spent hours taunting Suzy for fun.)  But Suzy made it abundantly clear that the dumpster was her personal all-you-can-eat buffet. 

Later in the summer the boys were responsible for chaining the dumpster closed and watering the electric bear fence.  Nothing worked.

Suzy ambled around camp with her cubs in tow.  She took up residence behind the dumpster while her cubs sat near by in the trees.  Suzy walked into the dorm, across the A-field paths, and was almost run down by the camp van when she ran across the road.  (Yes, I was driving.)

During the Summer of Suzy, I was petrified to walk around camp alone.  We educated the kids on what to do if they happened to come across a bear.  Put your arms up, make loud noises and slowly back away.  But in the back of my mind, I wasn't convinced that I could remain calm in the face of a Suzy encounter.  I imagined myself pushing a camper towards the bear and running away as fast as possible.  (Obviously, I lack that Momma Grizzly syndrome that Sarah Palin subscribes to.)

At the end of the summer, I was alone in the camp store taking inventory.  I dropped an entire bottle of slush syrup on the ground.  Even though slush syrup is extremely sour, I freaked out and was sure that the smell would attract the bear.  My heart started pumping and I grabbed my stuff and ran back to the staff house as fast as I could.

The Summer of Suzy instilled an irrational fear of wild animals in me.  To this day I am more afraid of being attacked by a wild animal than a person.

Everyone survived the summer without incident and Suzy was "taken care of" after the camp season.  There were future bear incidents at camp but the Summer of Suzy pretty much scarred me for life.

Truth:  I had a dream last week that I was in my parent's basement and there was a bear trying to break in through the windows! 


  1. My boss at work has a fear of mountain lions. He's always afraid that he's going to be attacked while running. We live in Indiana, no mountain lions for a thousand miles.

  2. I guess that would truly count as irrational. Black bears do actually live in MA so there is at least some basis for fear!


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