There’s a GI Rights Hotline that soldiers can call if they suddenly discover that they are conscientious objectors and want out. These days the hotline is taking more and more calls from personnel who do not want to serve alongside (or beneath) gay soldiers. That is, the kind they know about. The threat level of becoming aware of fellow soldiers’ sexuality is now surging into the orange zone since Congress has paved the way to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As a recent worried hotline caller remarked, “If homosexuality is actually allowed, I will be housed with somebody who’s sexually attracted to me.” You can’t buy that kind of self-esteem.

As everything does, this reminds me of working in the post office. It was a staple of workroom comedy to report on the perils of delivering mail to certain taverns in certain areas of town. In a typical monologue, a carrier would cop to a case of the willies when he would go into one of these establishments and be greeted in what he deemed an excessively friendly manner. “Whatever you do, if you’re in C. C. Slaughters and drop a letter, don’t bend over to pick it up!” Ha ha! The classics never fail. The comedian would bask in the roars of laughter, scratching his butt through his stained, baggy trousers, his beer-belly in full gestation and quivering with mirth.
“What exactly is it about you that you think homosexual men find so irresistible?” I always ask, causing the gentleman to stare uncertainly, mouth ajar, a tiny trickle of tobacco juice following the crusty trail to his chin. Well. He can’t point to a particular thing, exactly, but he’s quite confident of his magnetic qualities.

I don’t blame him. Without having tested it in the wild, I’m confident I am immensely attractive to bears. If Dave and I are walking in the woods, and we come upon a grizzly bear, I know I’m going to get the worst of it. Dave will be tough and stringy, even after being tenderized by mosquitoes. I, on the other hand, look yummy. I am the original Slow Food, undoubtedly delectable with the right sauce, and as a bonus, I am likely to produce the sauce myself. Some things you just know.
So I understand that when my coworkers, or our military’s finest, rattle off fag jokes at a steady clip, they are essentially carrying bear bells. They are warning the bears of their presence so as to be less vulnerable to attack. Let’s review what to do if you are in danger of being attacked by a bear:

Grab hold of your bells and jingle, jangle, jingle.
Look big. Hold your hands up high above your head. (Review The Village People’s “Y-M-C-A” for an example. We are looking for “Y.”)
If attacked, immediately drop to a fetal position (“C”). Some sources report that a better outcome can be achieved by lying prone and straight, legs together, vital parts protected by the ground. It’s up to you to decide which are your vital or most vulnerable parts, but rolling over and over while you think about it is not recommended.
Anything that you are carrying that might attract a bear should be placed up high in a tree or a bear pole. Determine your most attractive assets, sling them over that pole and rest easy.
If assaulted, play dead. (This will probably work in any scenario.)
Remember, although these steps may gain you some advantage, there are no guarantees when it comes to bears. Face it, you’re a hopelessly attractive dude. It’s the mullet, you big redwood, you.