The familiar saying

Most people have heard the saying "Does a bear sh*t in the woods". It's a saying that is used to give a strong positive response.

An example would be, if you asked someone, "Do you want a thousand dollars?". At this time it's appropriate to respond with, "Does a bear sh*t in the woods?". This is assumed to be an obvious yes, because people think that all bears defecate in the woods.

However, what most people don't understand, is that if you analyze the saying, you'll soon realize that not only is it an improper response (i.e. answering a question with a question.), but it also is a very unsure response at best.

There are two obvious problems with the saying, and one rather hidden problem. I'll address each one individually.

First, the saying assumes that all bears relieve themselves in the woods. If you've ever been to the zoo, you will realize that these bears are far from any area that could be classified as woods. Also, polar bears live in the artic north, where the climate is too cold for large plants to grow. The best they'll ever see are small shrubs, and tundra grasses. These can hardly be classified as woods. (Don't even get me started on polar bears in zoos.)

The second problem has to deal with the term 'woods'. Woods are larger than a grove, but smaller than a forest. Forests cover the top of the USA, and much of Canada where bears live. Woods, however, can be found in many places all over the US, where bears do not live. It would be extremely impractical for a bear to 'hold it' until it can walk from the forests of the north, to a smaller wood in the south, before defecating. Thus, nearly every bear does not actually relieve themselves in the woods.

The third problem, which is a bit stretching, but a problem none-the-less, involves the term 'bear'. Because the term 'bear' implies that the bear is living, you can pretty much skip this point. However, the corpse of a bear, is still a bear. Then there are stuffed bears, and bear-skin rugs, which of course, will not be taking a potty any time soon. Also, certain species of bears, like the California Grizzly, are extinct, making it very difficult, no matter how hard they try, for bears of those types to "sh*t in the woods".

With all that said, you can see why the saying is quite flawed. So the next time you hear someone say "Does a bear sh*t in the woods?" in response to a question of yours, you may wonder if they really mean 'yes'. In fact, the saying is so much the opposite of what it's supposed to imply, you may even think they mean 'no'!

So how can we rectify this defective statement? It's really quite simple. Instead of the imprecise saying "Does a bear sh*t in the woods", say "Does a living grizzly or black bear, who's not in captivity, sh*t in the forest?". That should pretty much clear up any inconsistencies that you may face.

Thank you for your time. (Which you will never get back, no matter how hard you try!)