Apparently, when wild bears attack you in order to eat you, they are fairly quiet about it. I just read an essay by a man who was woefully snuck up on by a hungry bear who did it tippy-toe style. The author barely survived but was not, in fact, unnibbled by the secretive animal. According to the plethora of scientists and researchers quoted in this article, bears who are just pissed at you or don’t want you in their necks of the woods make all kinds of angry snarling sounds while they dismember you, but the hungry ones just get down to business without all kinds of theatrics. One expert even went so far as to refer to bears as The Silent Killer.
Wait, I thought great white sharks were the silent killer. And heart disease. And carbon monoxide poisoning. And brain aneurisms. And the farts of twelve-year-old boys. Just how many freakin’ ways are there to die without any idea in the world that your end is near?
I wouldn’t be able to agree that dying loudly or with all kinds of alarming noises first is any better than dying unsuspectingly, but it does make me kind of fear the calmness of a quiet house. Of course, I am a mother of two school-aged children and we learn early to fear the silence almost as much as we yearn for it. It is actually kind of quiet in my house right now and I happen to know that the younger child ran through earlier carrying a large bottle of glue. If I cared more, I could stop it.
Having two older brothers, I remember several childhood moments that started out in a house full of sweet stillness only to erupt in all manner of rage and profanity when one parent discovered the that two boys had actually concocted a plan to launch some kind of (occasionally human) projectile and had also built the necessary contraption for the launch. The discovery did not always occur before the would-be test pilot had already been through a trial run. There was usually blood.
My children are girls, which only means that no one was physically testing the laws of physics on a sibling. Usually some colored and/or perfumey substance is no longer contained and is instead staining the carpet, the furniture, the dog, or worse. Industrial cleaning agents and scrubbing will be involved, but hopefully while I’m bent over unstaining something a bear won’t sneak up on me.