Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I'll be honest, I have a soft spot in my heart for mountain men, arctic explorers, mountain climbers, and any ridiculously manly feats of suffering and endurance (and for Hils too, of course). I just love the stuff. Some of my favorite books are about these types of people and their suffering. Books like Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage (a must read for anyone), Into Thin Air (impossible to put down), Aku Aku, Klondike Fever, and The Mountain Man (Seen Jeremiah Johnson? It was based on this fictional book which was based on the life and legend of Liver-Eatin Johnston.)

These people went through things like:
- being chased by man-eating leopard seals while running through knee deep rotten ice
- walking down Everest in a snow storm with their face and minor appendages frozen while suffering from altitude sickness
- crossing 200 miles of wilderness in the winter after being stripped of your clothing while the entire Crow Nation is chasing you

They're good for keeping the internal "adventure fire" burning nice and hot. They also make me less apt to complain about the cold morning winds on campus when walking from a heated car to a heated building.

Anyway, what got me on this whole manliness trip today was the fact that I read a little blip this morning about an African-American bear hunter named Holt Collier. While acting as a guide to President Roosevelt on a hunting trip in Mississippi, Holt drove a black bear to a hunting blind where Teddy was supposed to be waiting. Unfortunately, the president had taken an early lunch. The bear, tired of running, turned and attacked the pursuing hunting dogs. When Holt arrived on the scene, the bear was in the middle of mauling his best dog. So Holt Collier did what any sensible man would do: he put down his gun, overpowered the bear with his bare hands, saved his dog, and tied the bear to a tree so the president could shoot it when he was done eating. When Pres. Roosevelt saw the bear, he refused to shoot it because of its vulnerable state. The story was picked up by the press, resulting in a favorable public response and leading to the creation of the "Teddy Bear". Thus, the cuddly teddy bear adored by millions has its roots in a raw man vs. nature wrestling match in the steamy swamps of Mississippi. Thank you, Holt Collier.

Hope you enjoyed the very random factoid and the daily dose of manliness.

*Sorry if there are gross grammatical errors, I'm really drowsy right now. Thanks, finals week.


Dennen and Hilary Frazier said...

I love it! Is that really how the "teddy bear" got its name... or just a tall tale?

Tyler said...

So true! Someday I hope to wrestle a wild animal myself.

Dennen and Hilary Frazier said...

As do I, my friend, as do I.
- Dennen