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!
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO . . . Ranger Smith? (VERSION A)
“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.
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.
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO . . . Ranger Smith? (VERSION B)
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.
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.
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.