When the grizzly at the Minnesota Zoo picked up a rock and smashed the glass that stood between him and having kid-kabob for lunch, maybe he was telling us something. Such as:

Not even basic cable? Just the networks? Really?

You guys ever heard of habeas corpus? Either charge me or let me out and the charge had better not be something like "public hibernation."

Remember that TV show "Gentle Ben"? Yeah well, neither do I.


Or, just maybe: I don't want to be here.

I don't ascribe human emotions to animals. At most it might understand confinement by thinking "either I've put on weight or this forest got really small." But that doesn't mean a bear can't be miserable. Sure, the grub's OK. No fires. But living in a zoo is like training to be a marathon runner in a mobile home.

Not a big bear fan, by the way. Situations in which I would like to see a bear in person are limited to "surrounded by an impenetrable force field," because bears are curious one moment, then indifferent, then it's all RAWWWR ME MAUL NOW because they have a cub somewhere and you made the mistake of sneezing. You can't blame the bear. No bear thinks, "Allergies, bro?"

No, I just don't like zoos. Aquariums are fine. Fish are stupid. Whales are different, of course — putting an orca in a tank and saying, "they love their trainers!" is like saying, "you have to live in a phone booth, but a friend will call you once a day." Putting big creatures in small spaces so we can look at them every four years seems … unnecessary. You can't imagine a prospective citizen saying, "I'd love to move to the Twin Cities, with its beautiful sights, fine museums, bike paths and hearty educated citizens, but there had darn well better be bears or the deal's off."

I'm not saying you're wrong for liking zoos. Just saying the bear's not wrong if he doesn't share your opinion.