I’m just the Papa Bear of this operation, but I think I speak for the whole family in saying I knew this day was coming since the first shortage. Toilet paper has never been more popular. Charmin says it’s just too “triggering” to keep airing commercials. Customers are becoming enraged when they see dancing red bears wiping their assholes with a seemingly endless supply of TP while they can’t even find this stuff on Amazon. The focus now is upping production, and we aren’t quite “essential.” Point blank.

I have to say, the family is taking it surprisingly well. My son smiled and said, “Dad, does this mean I don’t have to flaunt my ass in commercials anymore?” Granted, I wasn’t thrilled with his verbiage. But I told him he was correct. My wife started focusing on self-care with an emphasis on yoga. I’ve started writing again.

I personally am not chagrined by being furloughed. I mean, we’ve been parading around inspecting each other for residual shit on TV for years. It doesn’t really get much lower than that. From day one it’s been mostly vitriol from our commercial audience. The company branded us as “lighthearted” and “cute,” but we’ve only ever received backlash for being “those bears.” The word “disgusting” has come up multiple times. Not to mention “shit bears” and “toilet trash.” It’s been nothing but awkward glances and whispers from the bear community.

Snuggle made it look so easy to warm the hearts of humans. I mean, what’s not to love? He’s a cuddly talking bear that makes your clothes soft. Everyone wants to give him a hug. That guy smells like fucking lavender. Nobody wants to hug bears that still have toilet paper clinging to their butt fur. It’s not a good look.

I asked Smokey for advice back when I was hitting the bottle hard. I thought my wife was going to leave me. It’s a long story. He just pointed at me and said, “Only you can prevent yourself from embarrassment.” We were both pretty loaded. Ironically it was when we were chain-smoking outside a bar. He was so careful to make sure each cigarette was completely extinguished before throwing it away. I think about it often.

They’ll probably need us again once toilet paper goes back to being an accessible commodity. Honestly, our whole shtick with Charmin Ultra Strong™ is that you only need to use a few sheets at a time. Maybe if our customers would just listen to us we wouldn’t be facing this goddamn shortage to begin with. Just saying.

Now might be the time to just detach completely and find new careers. It’s been easy money, sure. But as talking bears, it’s hard not to wonder what other opportunities are out there for us. I’m thinking of starting with paper towels, maybe trash bags. It’s just hard once you’ve been typecast, you know? I hate to be “that guy” and say now’s a good time to start working on my memoir, but it hasn’t not crossed my mind.

Anyway, if you’d like to contribute to our GoFundMe page while we figure out our next steps, please do. We’re trying to put Billy through college.