All bears are apparently named Chris.
Don't feel dumb if you didn't know that until now. I, myself, was not aware of this until just recently. I guess I just assumed that bears, if they actually have names, wouldn't all have the same name. Doesn't that make things awfully confusing at the country jamboree? Do they have last names so they can be "Chris R" and "Chris D" like kids in elementary school? Also, I guess I thought bears would have cooler, tougher names like "Chuck" or "Norris" or "Chuck Norris." Not that Chris isn't a great name, it's fine, it just isn't what I pictured as the perfect moniker for a bear.
Meg is the one who set me straight.
Last weekend Ryan and I decided to have a date night and let Meg have a sleepover with at her Grandparents. Because my parents are on a relentless quest to dominate Meg's affections the night not only included pizza, but also a trip to the toddler hysteria inducing, wallet draining "Build a Bear Workshop" There Meg selected out a large, pink, fuzzy bear. She went through all the rigmarole of giving it a heart, watching it get fluffy innards, picking out the perfect tutu to match it's eyes, and giving it a name. The name she picked? Not Bubbles, or Fluffy, or Angelina, but Chris, of course.
We don't know anyone named Chris.
That's a lie.
Everyone knows someone named Chris.
However, the Chrises in our lives aren't people that Meg interacts with, and certainly aren't ones she would want to name a bear after. She has no Chrises in her various classes or play groups. We racked our brains trying to think of where she came up with Chris. Books? Not that we know of. Movies? Nope. Songs? Bands? Beat poets? We could find no reason in her seemingly Chris-free existence.
On Monday, Meg told us that not only is her pink bear named Chris, but her much loved, smaller, brown teddy bear is also named Chris. I asked her if her stick horse was named Chris as well. She looked at me like I was high. "No," she said, "that's a horse." I felt chastened.
Then, on Friday, Meg got to meet real bears.
No, it wasn't a cage fight. Nor was it an incident that will soon be turned into a Lifetime movie starring Tori Spelling as Meg.
Baby bears were brought into my office to promote an outdoors show going on. They were about the size of cats, and one of the cutest damn things I have ever seen. Meg was especially taken with them, and wanted me and Ryan to pet them along with her and the other kids who had been brought in.
"Daddy, pet Chris," she said. Ryan explained to her that we had left Chris, both of them, at home. "No, Daddy," she explained, "not those Chris, this Chris."
That's when we figured out that all bears are named Chris.
I don't know how Meg gained this knowledge. Maybe the fact we called her "little bear" as a baby gave her some kind of physic bond with her ursus brethren. Maybe at her age she still is in touch with her "wild spirit." Maybe she's just messing with us.
Whatever the case, from now on, until the day I die, whenever I see or hear about a bear, the name whispered in the back of my mind will be "Chris."
I won't ever say it out loud though. I don't want people to look at me strangely.