Smokey Bear, who turned 65 yesterday, was feted by the US Forest Service with a celebration in Washington, DC, has privately told friends that he is being forced into retirement by political bureaucrats.
"I feel good--like a bear half my age," Smokey said. "I never miss an engagement, never go over my allotment of sick days. I think I have a lot of good years left in me with the Forest Service. They talked about a desk job, maybe. That's not me; I mean, hell, I'm a BEAR, for crying out loud. I need to be out with the people, spreading the word, crapping in the woods."
But spreading the word may be part of the problem. A confidential internal memo of the Forest Service was recently leaked, indicating issues with Smokey Bear's relevance among today's youth, especially Hispanics."
"I know, I know; I've heard it before," said Smokey, addressing those same issues. "I tried learning Spanish, but, being a bear, it's hard, you know. Last year, they wanted me to change my uniform to a sideways baseball cap and oversized, satin basketball shorts that hung down off my ass. They said I would have to wear boxer shorts, so as not to offend anyone. Look, I'm a grown BEAR--they're lucky I wear jeans. I'm sure as hell not wearing boxers and basketball shorts."
"I know they brought in some young hip-hop cub last year for a tryout. Wanted to name him "B-schizzle Bear." He didn't last. Couldn't keep up with the schedule. All he wanted to do was party with the lady bears, if you know what I mean; party and hibernate all winter. Being the spokesbear against forest fires is a 365-day, 24/7 job, my friend. Fire knows no season."
"Hey, look, God knows I'm not perfect," Bear went on. "I've had my demons along the way--drugs in the '60s, alcohol, picnic baskets. I guess the low point was back in the mid-eighties when I was scrounging around garbage dumps, looking for scrap to sell to support my coke habit. But I got clean and have never, NEVER let fans see me that way, strayed off message or missed a photo-op with kids. Never. Shouldn't that count for something?"
Smokey has also admitted to friends that he is having some health issues. "Two years ago, the doctors told me I had lung cancer from inhaling all that smoke when I was a kid. Hell, I didn't know any better. They said 'Get out there on the fire line with those other smoke-eaters to fight the fires; it'll make great copy.' Who knew? When you're a young bear, you think you're bulletproof."
"Yeah, they came to talk to me," Smokey went on, referring to the "Death Panel" of Obama's Healthcare plan that was first revealed by Sarah Palin. "I didn't know who they were at first, just some government guys asking how I was feeling, then telling me that 65 was a good, long life for a bear and I should be happy that I lived this long. They knew I had lung cancer. They said there was nothing more they could do for me and that I should consider just retiring quietly and going off into the woods somewhere to die. Me, Smokey the Bear. Go die because the government doesn't want to pay my medical bills and my pension? Tell me that's fair......"
"I've talked with Gov. Palin. She knows what's going on, the "Death Panels" and all. Telling real Americans it's time for them to go off into the woods to die so the government can pay for late-term, partial-birth abortions for illegal aliens so they can steal American jobs and ruin this country. I didn't spend my whole life preventing forest fires to watch my America go up in flames. She knows the truth. If I lose this gig with the Forest Service, you can bet my furry ass I'm going on tour with her to get the word out about this plot."
"Who says I can't relate to today's kids? Why, this picture was just taken last week. Look, they love me....."