Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What Ever Happened To . . . Ranger Smith? (Blogger Throwdown Edition)

As I mentioned a couple days ago, a blogger by the name of Reputation@Stake (from the blog The Stupid Bet) has challenged me to a Blogger Throwdown.  According to the Official Blogger Throwdown Rulebook, Fifth Edition, as the challenger I am permitted to select a topic for both myself and Mr. @Stake to write about.  Readers are then asked to determine which piece was written by me, and which was written by Mr. @Stake.  The idea, of course, is for Mr. @Stake to try to copy my style and "fool" my readership into thinking he's me.

Which calls into question his sanity, but what the hell, it should be fun.

So the topic I chose is another episode in my "What Ever Happened To . . . " series, this time focusing on Yogi Bear's arch nemesis, Ranger John Smith.  The two pieces will be labeled "Version A" and "Version B", all you have to do is figure out who wrote what and post your opinion in the comment section.  The truth will be revealed a few days after the initial posting.  Have fun!


The problems for Ranger Smith started long before he was a Park Ranger chasing two nicely dressed bears away from pick-i-nick baskets. Before ever meeting Yogi, he’d struggled with the rejection of being passed over for the part of The Lone Ranger. His mood lightened momentarily when he got the part on The Yogi Bear Show, but darkened just as quickly when he learned that the show wouldn’t be renamed after him, nor would he be the lead character. In fact, learning that even someone with a name like Boo Boo, would get higher billing than him, is what first drove him to binge drinking.

“On camera it may have been difficult to see,” says Cindy Bear, Yogi’s on-screen love interest, “but most of the time he was as wasted as a homeless bartender.”

But Cindy was also part of the trouble. Ranger Smith had a not-so-secret crush on Cindy, and constantly badgered the script writers to put in a passionate make-out scene between he and Cindy. They said America wasn’t ready for an inter-species couple yet, at least not until HBO became available. But Cindy did not feel the same way about him, yet she would often try to make him feel better by buying him a whiskey with a beer chaser.

Jellystone Park could be a tough place to work. Running in a straight line, and passing the same tree twenty times, can be very disorienting. Eventually Smitty (as squirrels affectionately called him) decided to call it quits. This decision came immediately after hearing that the show had been canceled, but he still felt good about his decision.

But the demand for rangers in Hollywood is somewhat low, so he was forced to look for income in less reputable places. And that’s what led him into the seedy underground world of RPS (Rock, Paper, Scissors). Competitions were fierce, and could turn violent if competitors brought real scissors or rocks. But Smitty was a natural, and he dreamed of making it into the Professional RPS League.

He hoped that going pro might impress Cindy.

That dream finally became a reality in January of 1993. Unfortunately Cindy was hibernating at the time, so Smitty had to wait until Spring to tell her. But before he could, a couple of things happened. A new show was debuting, called, “Power Rangers.” Ranger Smith felt this was his big chance to break back into show business. And since ESPN refused to televise RPS Championships, he saw that it might be his only chance to be on screen again.

So he retired from the RPS League and headed back to Hollywood.

Unfortunately he was not the type of ranger they were looking for. He tried to return to RPS, but the league was dwindling, unable to compete with the new flashier sport, “Chain, Leather, Knives.”

So Ranger Smith decided it was time to go after Cindy, once and for all. It had been a long winter, and she was still unconscious, but he crawled into her cave anyway. Unfortunately her paws were wrapped around another bear, who was wearing a much better tie than Smitty had ever worn.

With this final failure, Ranger Smith completely lost it. He started running around naked in the National Park, living under boulders or in hollow logs, and barking at the moon. He has become somewhat of an urban legend, and visitors come to the park hoping to catch a rare glimpse of the mad man of the woods. But the only time he is really seen anymore, is when he comes out to steal people’s pick-i-nick baskets.


John Francis Smith served as chief forest ranger at Jellystone National Park from 1955 to 1981, earning a reputation as a friendly-yet-firm peacekeeper who did his best to ensure the safety of the thousands of tourists who visited Jellystone each year.  For the most part, Ranger Smith did his job perfectly.  In fact, in 1968, he was presented with the Servicewide Harry Yount Award for his "overall impact, record of accomplishment, and excellence in traditional ranger duties."  The Harry Yount is the most prestigious award a park ranger can receive, so this was quite the big deal for everyone at Jellystone.  His fellow rangers threw a gala celebration in Ranger Smith's honor, and his Harry Yount plaque was displayed at park headquarters.

Starting in 1972, however, Smith's work performance started to suffer.  Not coincidentally, that's the same year that a hat-wearing brown bear named Yogi arrived in Jellystone.  Proclaiming himself to be "smarter than the average bear," Yogi, along with his accomplice Boo-Boo, continually ransacked campsites, hi-jacked RV's, and occasionally mauled random tourists simply to rob them of their "pick-a-nick baskets."  To be fair, Yogi's larcenous tendencies were not born of mischief, it was his all-consuming addiction to deviled eggs and potato salad that made him do it.

That's no excuse though.  He was still a criminal and as such, Ranger Smith took it upon himself to rid Jellystone of the dastardly bear and his guilty-by-association sidekick.

Initially, Smith's efforts were futile.  Not only was Yogi indeed smarter than the average bear, he was apparently smarter than the average Harry Yount Award-winning park ranger.  No matter what tactics Ranger Smith tried, Yogi continued to separate campers from their picnic baskets and over a period of several years park attendance dropped dramatically.  I mean, really, who wants to go camping when there's a pretty good chance your deviled eggs are going to get swiped?  And of course, as tourism decreased, so did Jellystone's revenue and there was talk of massive cutbacks including the laying off of park rangers.

That's when Ranger Smith decided to take drastic measures to get rid of Yogi Bear once and for all.  So he contacted the Acme Company.

Acme was a corporation attempting to rebound from a troubled history.  In the mid-70's, the company lost a high-profile lawsuit (Coyote v. Acme, US District Court, Southwestern District of Arizona, 1974) which cost Acme seventeen million dollars in punitive damages and led to a complete overhaul of their manufacturing guidelines and safety procedures.  As a result, when Ranger John Smith placed an order for some highly sophisticated deadly devices, he was rewarded with state-of-the-art equipment.

The morning of July 15, 1981, the last day of Yogi Bear's life, literally started off with a bang.  Ranger Smith had set a picnic basket full of Acme Exploding Deviled Eggs and Acme Radioactive Potato Salad right next to the entrance to Yogi and Boo-Boo's cave.  When Yogi went outside for his morning stroll, he couldn't help but take the bait.

"Hey, Boo-Boo!  Take a look at this pick-a-nick basket.  Hey hey hee!"

"I don't know, Yogi," said Boo-Boo.  "Don't you think that's a little suspicious?  A picnic basket just sitting out here with nobody around?"

"Nonsense, Boob.  Never look a gift basket in the mouth."  He scarfed down a spoonful of potato salad and a half dozen deviled eggs, and with one horrific KABOOM, Yogi erupted like Old Faithful, if Old Faithful spouted blood, fur, and bear guts instead of water and steam.

Boo-Boo, though shaken, was physically unharmed.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the good folks at PETA to figure out what had happened, and when they did they were all over Ranger Smith like a fur coat on a Mafia mistress.  Succumbing to the media pressure, Jellystone Park's Board of Directors relieved the dishonored ranger of his duties, which is to say, they gave him the boot.

John Francis Smith packed up his belongings, sold his house in Casper, Wyoming and bought a lovely cottage on Martha's Vineyard where he is currently a best-selling novelist.  His most recent novel, Deader Than the Average Bear, tells the story of a Chicago football star who gets into trouble with the local crime syndicate.

Smith says he has no regrets about his past.

"Look, I'm not proud of what I did back at Jellystone," he said in a recent interview.  "I was frustrated, I lost my temper, things happened that I can't take back.  I'm enjoying my life as a writer, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I mean, hell, park rangers make about thirty grand a year.  My last book pulled in three million.  Who's laughing now, Yogi?"

Boo-Boo died in 1984 when a hunter blew his head off.  He is now a cozy rug in front of a fireplace in Aspen, Colorado.


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Mariann Simms said...

This was harder than I thought it would be. I've been an avid reader of Chris's for quite some time and I thought it would be pretty much determined by reading the intro sentence of each.

It wasn't.

But, based on this line alone: "Jellystone Park could be a tough place to work. Running in a straight line, and passing the same tree twenty times, can be very disorienting." I'm going with this being written by Chris.

I guess it would have helped had I been a reader of Reputation@Stake's...but I just ran across him the other day when I saw the "Throwdown" challenge.

The last two paragraphs of "B" sound very much like Chris, tho.

I think. But I'm still going with "A".

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I'd guess Chris was "A".

But it should have said "whiskey with a BEAR chaser"

Tex said...

If version B isn't Chris, may Yogi roll over in his graves (seeing as he was blown into so many pieces)

Suldog said...

I haven't a doubt that Chris wrote B. If I'm wrong, I'll be absolutely amazed.

A is a decent imitation - and the "passing the same tree 20 times" line is genius - but the punctuation isn't right for Chris. He's a bit more circumspect about where he places his commas. Also, I can't see Chris using "But" to begin a sentence, and then using "yet" later on in that same sentence. It doesn't feel right.

Both funny bits, though.

Eva Gallant said...

Both of these are very funny! I loved the vision of the drunken park ranger, the RPS segment, etc., but I'm betting B was written by Chris.

Mariann Simms said...

Kept thinking the same thing about the "bear" chaser.

I didn't get into it gramatically. I was thinking perhaps they'd write off-balance so as to confuse us...the last two paragraphs of "B" are very Chris-like. I wonder if they'd have gone so far as to each write a part of the other...nah...they wouldn't do that. I have to say that "Deader Than the Average Bear" has Chris written all over it as well. But I remember Chris saying he didn't just want to kill them at the end going "and then they died. The End"...so I factored that in, too. Plus I didn't have any sleep and I had been drinking barium for my horrible barium abdominal CT scan I had this morning...so God knows how that effected my brain.

And now the Ambien kicked in so I haven't a flying fig what the heck I'm typing. I better stop while I'm thinking I'm ahead.

00dozo said...

Both very good stories, however, the "B" version sounds more like Chris.

TS Hendrik said...

I'm guessing Rep for "A".
This is really a tough one.

The Good Cook said...


I vote B as written by you.

Hap said...

I'm betting B is Chris' version. The reference to the ACME Company tipped it for me.

Frank Lee MeiDere said...

Version B is Chris. I'm not even hedging my bet here.

ndenunz said...

I vote for version B as being written by Chris. It seemed to flow better.

Heff said...


Quirkyloon said...

My vote is for B.

Although, I did shudder at the thought of bestiality.

And we all know Chris would definitely GO there.

hee hee

Julie said...

While interspecies dating and a not-so-secret-crush on Cindy are Chris-like, I'm going with B.

B flows more like Chris, relies less on "but" and "so" to move the story, gives a little back history. Very Chris-like overall.

Fun writing concept!

Bethany@ImperfectMom said...

Chris wrote B. I'm 99.9% positive. Both stories were very creative, though!

HumorSmith said...

I go with "B". Much Like my dating life.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Gotta go with B on this one. It was the Acme v Coyote lawsuit that put it over the edge for me.

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