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There are certain people in life who are absolutely useless.

I don’t mean useless like Bristol Palin, or like your drunk, jobless uncle Carl, or like a politician, but useless in that they CAN do things, but simply…don’t. For many a reason. I call these people “bear sweaters”.

This is more like a "BJ And The Bear" sweater, but I digress.

Bear sweaters come in all shapes and sizes, but their flavor is always the same – sour as hell. These are the friends who call you first when they need a ride somewhere, but when you need one they’re either too busy or you live “too far away”. These are the individuals who cannot seem to ever pay you back the sums of money they owe you after the countless times you’ve either loaned it to them or picked up the tab, but they always seem to be able to buy the latest this or the best that. These are the folks who make plans with you, and just when you’ve cleared your calendar for their benefit, they blow you off for something better – if they even bother contact you. You see, they’re not useless from the world’s perspective – they hold jobs, they have families, they meet (some) responsibilities. They are not the homeless, the drug-addled, the mentally-incapable; they are merely the morally-deprived, the selfish few, the ones who constantly withdraw from the Bank Account of Life and Decency but rarely make deposits. To the outside world, they appear to be upright citizens – and in many cases, they certainly are. But they are not to be depended on in a pinch.

Bear sweaters often pride themselves on appearances. They want to appear to be capable, helpful, concerned, thoughtful…but ultimately their concern only reaches as far as their epidermis. They care about you to the extent that the caring affects them directly – meaning, they’re quick to say “Oooh, I’m sorry to hear about that, let me know if you need anything”, but if you follow that up with “Well, I COULD use a ride to the store”, they’ll suddenly remember that errand they have to run, or that they can’t help you right NOW, or that there’s an alpaca in Lima, Peru that’s higher up on their To Do list.

What? They're CUTE AS HELL.

Bear sweaters will sometimes even blame you for their crappy behavior. They’ll say you’re asking too much, that you don’t understand their needs, that it’s different when they’re the ones in need. They justify their unfriendship with false accusations of privilege; with character assassination; with downright ugliness of thought. If you break down their initial defenses of “Oh, I can’t right now because of ___”, they can sometimes flip the script on you and make it seem like they’re the victim. So what if you have a ruptured Achilles tendon and can’t drive your stick shift? Maybe that wouldn’t’ve happened if you had invited them to your company’s Christmas party last year. So what if you have a 103 degree fever and really need someone to go to Walgreens for you? You never go to Walgreens for THEM (except for the 5 times you did it last year, of course). Bear sweaters are never more in their element than when they’re turning you down and breaking you down.

A bear sweater will

  • Ask you for $300, then accuse you of “only thinking about money” when you ask for repayment a year later
  • Tell you they’ll pick you up from the airport, only to forget you
  • Offer to help you with your workload, only to then tell others that you’re a slacker
  • See that you’re sick/crippled/unable to perform, then ask you what you’re cooking for dinner
  • Eat a meal you specifically made for yourself, without asking or apologizing
  • Ask to come along on a trip, and ruin the whole thing by bitching and moaning about everything
  • Take something from you for free, but only offer something to you for a fee
  • Only call you when they have issues, but if you want to talk about yours, they’re “too busy”

Why bear sweaters, you ask? Because there is nothing on Earth less useful than a sweater for a bear. They don’t need it on two levels: they sleep during the winter, completely mitigating the need for warm outerwear, and THEY ARE BEARS. THEY ALREADY HAVE A METRIC TON OF FUR ON THEIR ASSES. Bear sweaters are useless.

I bet you know a few bear sweaters in your life. Tell me about ’em.




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