I’d like to thank the board of directors here at Grizzly World for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today in order to review some key points after our soft opening last weekend. With a few minor tweaks here and there, I have no doubt that we can put many of these incidents — and, in all likelihood, lawsuits — behind us and focus on making Grizzly World the most successful live grizzly-themed amusement park in the entire western United States.
Now, first of all, I know that some of you are wondering how a former Arabian horse breeder — well, okay, assistant breeder — came to be the CEO of a Fortune 500-owned establishment like Grizzly World, but let’s not forget our corporate philosophy: Always Look Forward. On a related note, to whoever added the phrase “(especially if you’re running for your life)” to the company-wide email distributed this morning, let the record show: I am not amused.
Moving on, I know how difficult it is to succeed in the highly competitive field of interactive carnivorous petting zoos. In fact, I was as surprised as anyone when I came up with the idea. I guess there’s just something about a fully shaved silvertip in a flowing pink ball gown that appeals to the little kid in me. I mean, think of the photo opportunities! Unfortunately, as I will readily concede, my penchant for the big picture occasionally causes me to overlook some of the finer details that create the foundation for any successful venture. For example, the fact that “carnivorous” means “meat eating.”
Of course, it’d be easy to stand here and point fingers (sorry Susan, bad choice of words — just try to keep pressure on it) as we attempt to determine who, for example, was responsible for the opening day promotion distributing genuine salmon hats to our first 100 visitors, but at least now we can finally put to rest our previous debate about whether the traditional methods of animal-human segregation like fences, ditches, etc., can ever truly be replaced by more progressive techniques like the honor system. (The answer, by the way, is “No.”) In a similar vein, I’m certain that whoever green-lighted the “Swimming with Grizzlies” wave pool is probably having second thoughts right about now. (Those waves were a little high, Frank.) But surely we can all admit that “Bear Bodies” was a brilliant name for the water park itself? And that “The Right to Bear Arms” souvenir stand probably would have become a real money-maker if only we’d remembered to store the inventory downwind from our free-roaming attractions?
— Yes, Susan, you have a question?
— Right, sorry. No, please keep it elevated. I’ll work around you.
As I was saying, the bottom line is that, no matter how you slice it, we got at least as much right as we got wrong. Of course, with their juvenile “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality, not a single media outlet is bothering to report that particular factoid. Honestly, can you name any other theme park in the world with enough chutzpah to completely reverse the age-old custom of humans dressing up as animal mascots? I don’t know about you, but before yesterday, I’d certainly never seen a bear in overalls driving a threshing machine. Of course, accidentally decimate one Girl Scout troop, and suddenly grizzlies driving diesel-powered farm equipment isn’t so much visionary as — and I’m quoting here — “astonishingly and unequivocally insane.”
Nonetheless, despite these and other setbacks, I’m certain that, had they survived the proof-of-concept phase of our collaboration, my late business partners would echo me in saying that the overall premise behind Grizzly World is still sound. If not for a few unforeseeable missteps, I’m positive that we would be well within our acceptable casualty limit. As it stands, the only thing preventing us from being the best Grizzly World we can be is our own fear of success. And, temporarily, a large number of disgruntled grizzly bears currently surrounding the building. In any case, I’m sure Animal Control will be here shortly with their promised supply of tranquilizer darts, so if anyone has any questions before we can attempt to flee the conference room, I’ll be happy to take them.
— Yes, Susan?