Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Long Game

After several attempts to quell a growing black bear population the Alabama legislator - after several failed attempts - put out a $250,000 reward for anyone who could fix the problem. Months later and still no realistic claims for the reward, a young man came to the state capitol and declared he would fix the problem but it would cost the state $5 million dollars.

Desperate but no sucker, the Governor asked "How do you fix to do that son?"

The young man responded, "Well governor, as a young boy I was raised good Christian and know the bible through and through."

The Governor said skeptically, "Well that doesn't explain how you're going to fix it."

The young man responded, "Well Governor, I also was given by God the ability to speak with animals. I've spent every day of my life praying and giving glory to God. And every chance I get I go to the woods to be with his creatures. I figured the time has come to do God's work and I will convert the black bears to Christianity and teach them abstinence."

The governor was quite taken aback by this but the young man went on. "And Governor, I do not want any money. I will go to the woods for some time and then if the black bear problem isn't fixed come next season, you will not owe me a single penny. Whatta you say, sir?"

So the Governor thought and prayed on it and finally agreed. So one Monday, the young man, surrounded by television crews, skeptics, well-wishers, and the governor himself walked into the woods with just some meager belongings and holding his holy bible high above his head. Six weeks later the young man came walking out of the woods to quite less fanfare but met the governor again telling him "I will return in 6 months and you will see the fruits of my work."

Six months goes by and sure enough the young man returns. And to the governors delight the black bear population had dropped significantly back down to acceptable levels. The young man was brought to the capital to much fanfare as the governor presented him with a check for $5 million and thousands of fans as well as throes of media. The young man simply accepted the check smiled and said "All glory to you my Lord." The young man took pictures, shook hands, spoke the gospel and at the end of the celebration disappeared just as mysteriously as he had come.

A month later - just by happenstance - a yankee reporter down south for a convention came across the young man drinking a beer in a small tavern. The reporter, recognizing the young man was overcome with curiosity and made his way over offering to buy the young man a beer and - perchance - get an inside story. The young man obliged and the reporter bellied up to the bar with him.

Being a yankee and a reporter, he was obviously skeptical but his curiosity was too much to contain. "So how did you take care of the black bear population?" he asked.

The young man looked him like he was dense and simply replied "Well I did what I said I was going to do, I went into the woods and I taught the black bears the bible and abstinence-only sex education."

"That's impossible," the reporter blurted. "They can't even teach PEOPLE abstinence-only sex education what's your trick?"

The young man took a long pull on his beer and with coy smile asked "Off the record?"

The reporter, now overcome with more curiosity than a big scoop thought hard, and finally beaten, said "Yes".

The young man smiled wide, took another drink and began "Well, I grew up in the woods all my life. I went to college and studied Biology focusing on wildlife. I then went on and got a PHD as well. After college I came back to Alabama and couldn't find work because of my college education, so I did what I could to get by. When the black bears became a problem I began looking at the different causes for it - and without boring you - I found that it was just a natural spike in their population which would soon ebb just as everything does in nature." And with that he sat back and took a self-satisfied drink of his beer.

The reporter was stunned. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. "So you made up some story about speaking to animals and all of that?? Why didn't you just tell them the truth?!?"

The young man's smile turned to a very serious face for once. He looked the reporter dead in his face and said "Do you think anyone in this state would believe me if I told them it was 'science'?"

As the reporter took this in, the young man beemed again as he added "Plus, next year they're going to pay me another $2 million just to go back and try and reach the black bears who didn't convert!"

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