It’s easy to stand here in 2010 and be completely amazed at the world around us. We are simply awash in a staggering amount of technological progress that takes our big beautiful world and makes it feel incredibly small. Blogs (like this amazing one that you simply cannot get enough of… right? RIGHT?!?!?!?), Twitter, Facebook and so on. When I actually take a moment to stop and think about it, it’s pretty overwhelming in a wonderful sort of way.
But as we move forward and become (allegedly) more sophisticated, we do leave many things behind… and not all of them are bad. For one, we have really done away with or just completely forgotten many of the rituals or ceremonies that marked important passages in our lives. I think it’s a wonderful thing that, for example, in Judaism there is the bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah to mark the entrance into an adult life for young people of that faith. Or perhaps the walkabout that Australian aborigines participate in. It’s truly a shame there are not more events such as this more universally.
Why have we left such things behind? Is it a feeling that we are simply too sophisticated for such things that remind us of our more tribal and ancient roots? Probably.
Ahh, but rejoice my friends! For despite our desire to leave behind such primitive trappings of a bygone era, there are those out there striving to still provide a means by which to help mark those significant points that we might otherwise let slip by like a thief in the night. Who, pray tell, who could such a person be?
I present for your consideration… Death Bear.
Yeah… you read that right. Death Bear.
Who… or maybe what… is Death Bear? Death Bear is a performance artist based in Brooklyn who will come to your home on a strictly volunteer basis to help people move on from a break-up in a relationship. Cute and cuddly, ain’t he?
I stumbled across this character as part of a piece over at MSNBC and honestly, I had to chuckle when I first saw it. I mean, seriously… a dude showing up in a 7 foot tall all black bear costume to take away the reminders of love gone sour? How can that possibly be something helpful for people who are going through some genuine emotional pain in their lives?
Well, apparently it does help. As Theresa Thai, someone who has used Death Bear before, says in the MSNBC piece, “He was very cordial and kind of somber, actually. It was almost like sacrificing something to alleviate the feeling of a heavy heart. It’s all symbolic, but it really did help.”
The more I thought about it, the less strange it seemed. Don’t get me wrong – there’s no way a dude in an all black bear suit going by the name Death Bear is ever going to be quite a normal to encounter as an accountant in a business suit. However, the notion of someone taking part in a ritualistic way to move beyond heartbreak? It actually makes a lot of sense and it’s probably not a bad idea for anyone seeking to find better closure.
Plus, who doesn’t like someone in an animal costume showing up at their door? I tell ya who… people I don’t wanna know.