In our previous precarious episode, the balancing bedazzlement of Chinese acrobats was the first humble example of my limited, sub-amateur experiences in the video medium.
One year later, at the 2010 Indiana State Fair I was stricken a second time by the impulse to test-drive my camera’s modest video function while watching live-action entertainment, just to see what would happen. I vaguely recalled a couple of mistakes not to repeat. This time we had front-facing seats; I kept the running time under a minute; and I found an odder subject.
With no schooling or forethought I created a modern masterpiece of bravery and stunt work, never to be duplicated or understood by rival artistes. The juxtaposition of a formidable force of nature with an understated man-made artifact examines the stark contrast between our attempts to navigate our world and nature’s cold-hearted insistence on denying the fundamental superiority of manifest destiny. On a deeper psychological level, the uneasy alliance between the avatars of ferocity and technology is an exemplary illustration of that innate contradiction known as the duality of man.
My thirty-nine-second magnum opus is called “Bear on Scooter”:
I dared not turn away. It was my self-appointed job as a non-journalist to document life as it happened before my eyes. I had to be prepared in case the unexpected occurred. What if the bear fell and sprained an ankle? What if the bear was enraged by the crowd and threw the scooter across the stage? What if the bear and his trainer got into a fistfight? Or a gunfight? Suppose the bear turned to the audience with doleful eyes and screamed, “THIS IS WRONG!” Someone had to be prepared to capture that great moment in history.
After all, isn’t that how all the best YouTube videos were born? Man points camera at animal (or small child); subject does the unexpected; fame and advertising dollars ensue. All that and more could’ve been mine, and it wouldn’t even require using any of my God-given talents, other than the arcane wisdom of knowing which side of the camera is which. I merely had to keep my fingers crossed and wait for a stunning surprise to unfold in the bear’s act. Patience and timing are key. Sooner or later your turn will come. Good things come to those who wait. Slow and steady wins the race. And other hoary platitudes.
Too bad nothing happened. The bear rode his scooter. He negotiated for honey. End clip. Enter: doldrums. Ah, what might have been, if only something had gone horribly awry. Better luck next bear.
To be concluded!
[Today is Day Four of the seven-day WordPress.com Daily Post’s “Just Do It!” Weekly Writing Challenge, in which WordPress bloggers have been dared to post-a-day for seven consecutive days. Thus does “Bear on Scooter” stand on its hind legs and roar, “I am Number Four.” At last, he counts for something. Thanks for reading!]