I wasn't going to snort it, I was just going to taste it
August 1, 2022 3:18 AM   Subscribe

Cocaine Bear (2023) tells the story of a drug runner whose plane crashes with a load of cocaine that's found by a black bear, who eats it. "Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn't a mammal on the planet that could survive that. Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it." It is currently on display, stuffed in a mall in Kentucky.
posted by geoff. (66 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by talking leaf at 3:51 AM on August 1 [14 favorites]


I always thought that Cocaine Bear was this meme.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:34 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


I’ve seen this before, albeit with honey. It probably intended to only get “a small smackeral” of cocaine, but then found itself compelled to ensure that the container really was cocaine “right the way to the bottom”. Silly old bear.
posted by thoroughburro at 4:40 AM on August 1 [23 favorites]


The chief medical examiner at the GSCL thought it a shame to waste the bear, and had a friend taxidermy it. Initially, they gifted the bear to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. However, when the bear was moved to storage to protect it from the threat of wildfires, it disappeared. It eventually turned up in a pawn shop, from which country singer Waylon Jennings bought it. Cocaine Bear’s earthly remains eventually made their way to the Fun Mall, where they reside to this day.
Well, that was a roller coaster of a paragraph.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:47 AM on August 1 [66 favorites]


It's really weird that the bear only had 3-4 grams of cocaine in his bloodstream. Per the Backpacker article, that's around half the lethal dose for an adult human.

Cocaine Bear was set up!
posted by easy, lucky, free at 4:48 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


The hunter who found the movie’s title character did not inform authorities of the discovery; in fact, three weeks passed before a game and fish agent learned of the bear and informed the GBI. When authorities finally discovered the bear’s body on Dec. 20, all 40 bags of cocaine were opened and empty.

Yeah that was a very thorough bear right there, making sure to open and empty all of the bags before keeling over from an overdose.
posted by each day we work at 4:53 AM on August 1 [36 favorites]


Cocaine Bear was set up!

BRB, gotta buy some more red yarn for my wall of crazy. I hadn’t reckoned to be adding a taxidermied bear to the array, but the facts lead where they lead.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:10 AM on August 1 [17 favorites]


I imagine Cocaine Bear and "Party God" from Adventure Time were probably pretty tight.
posted by Bob Regular at 5:19 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


It eventually turned up in a pawn shop, from which country singer Waylon Jennings bought it.

Just a good ol' bear, never meanin' no harm...
posted by box at 5:21 AM on August 1 [26 favorites]


And fittingly this was Ray Liotta's last movie he made before he died.
posted by geoff. at 5:33 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Ironically for a plane crash story, Waylon Jennings once drew the short straw when hoping to hop a flight and so had to go overland to the next destination. The guys on the plane — Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Richie Valens — might have had better luck if they had all gone overland.

I’m a little curious about the geography of the cocaine bear story, though: the luckless pilot — whom I gather tried to D.B. Cooper his way to a new life — is found in Knoxville TN. The bag o’ cocaine in Chattahoochee National Forest. The plane, the story tells us, was on autopilot for the North Atlantic. Was there some twists and turns in the autopilot flight plan? Knoxville and Chattahoochee appear to be not far off a straight north-south line. A straight line leads to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic Ocean, ultimately.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:35 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]



It's really weird that the bear only had 3-4 grams of cocaine in his bloodstream. Per the Backpacker article, that's around half the lethal dose for an adult human.

Cocaine Bear was set up!


The vasoconstrictor effects were probably so strong the capillaries of the GI tract couldn't absorb hardly anything

And I bet it was cut with powdered sugar or powdered milk, and that’s what made it attractive in the first place.

So yeah, Cocaine Bear was really set up.
posted by jamjam at 5:39 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Why does it have to be a BLACK bear?

when a white bear does coke they make it a xmas commercial
posted by adept256 at 5:40 AM on August 1 [116 favorites]


I was wondering why the bear went at cocaine, I really doubt it was cut with anything. The plane was overweight which is why it crashed into the mountain and frankly it makes no sense to cut product when smuggling it. Since he was meeting associate on the ground and all the cocaine was gone I bet the bear got to a few containers and the associates got the rest.
posted by geoff. at 5:46 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


There isn't a mammal on the planet that could survive that.

Well, that just makes me wonder how much cocaine you could feed to a shark, or an ostrich, or an alligator.

I guess I'll just have to wait for the version of this story that's set in Florida.
posted by box at 5:51 AM on August 1 [19 favorites]


Two thumbs up for that title.
posted by Gorgik at 6:12 AM on August 1


I have to wonder how one turns a story like this into a movie.

The traditional Hollywood route would be to put some annoying human subplot around the cocaine. You know, give it a three-act structure, hire A-list talent, get Michael Bay to direct, blah blah blah. The movie industry never lacks for ways to ignore the essential charm of a weird idea.

A more experimental writer and director could find gold here. Imagine something like a meandering story, as if told be a stoner, maybe involving a heist by dumb crooks and a random bear in the woods for whom Fate had plans. Like a collection of related comedy sketches. In the final scene the Cocaine Bear doesn't die, that would be too tragic. No, its consciousness would instead vibrate at a faster and faster frequency, eventually leaving its hairy body and, like a particle of radioactive decay, blasting up and out away from Earth to seek out happier worlds, ones where innocent forest creatures don't find a big load of blow in the middle of the woods.
posted by JHarris at 6:43 AM on August 1 [11 favorites]


There isn't a mammal on the planet that could survive that.

That line may explain why Waylon ended up with Cocaine Bear - hell, he took that as a challenge.

Jennings was open and honest about his addiction in his later years, saying, "I did more drugs than anybody you ever saw in your life." At one point, he claimed he had a $1,500-a-day cocaine habit that he wasn't able to kick until he went cold turkey in 1984.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 7:00 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


If Pawn Stars is anything to go by, the clerk called his buddy who knows all about taxidermied cocaine bears and told the customer “five bucks, best I can do”.
posted by dr_dank at 7:44 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


There isn't a mammal on the planet that could survive that.

I'm going to guess that a blue whale wouldn't even notice it.
posted by Splunge at 7:52 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Cardiologist Answers Your Drug Questions Dr. Rohin Francis of MedLife Crisis celebrates 420K subscribers by taking bizarre drug questions from his fans. Among the questions were: "How many energy drinks can I have before having a heart attack?" and Dr. Francis replies, "If you really want to have a heart attack, get your self some cocaine." RIP Pablo Escobear. Perhaps Leonardo DiCaprio will play you in your biographic.
posted by effluvia at 7:56 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


I have to wonder how one turns a story like this into a movie.

This story bears (heh) some similarity to the 1998 drama A Simple Plan. I haven’t seen it in years, so I cannot recall if it is Bill Paxton or Billy Bob Thornton who plays the bear.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:06 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


There isn't a mammal on the planet that could survive that.

Laughs in Keith Richards.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 AM on August 1 [18 favorites]


A more experimental writer and director could find gold here.

I’m imagining a Slackers-style thing but instead of just following whoever the current subject interacts with, we follow the cocaine from the initial harvest of coca leaves all the way through processing and transportation. Portions of human dramas occur along the way, but we never see their beginning or end and are left to wonder what happened to the young couple asking the traffickers to smuggle them to America too, or to the young boy and his dad who have to work on the coca farm because there’s no other options but they know they’ll never earn enough to pay for Mama’s medicine. And then rather than a DEA raid or getting sold to rich inside-traders, the cocaine is consumed by a bear, who stumbles halfway into the distance before keeling over.
posted by nickmark at 9:09 AM on August 1 [17 favorites]


Oddly, that was the same weekend that Spuds MacKenzie was reported to be irritable and low-energy at the weekend parties.
posted by credulous at 9:14 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Jennings was open and honest about his addiction in his later years, saying, "I did more drugs than anybody you ever saw in your life." At one point, he claimed he had a $1,500-a-day cocaine habit that he wasn't able to kick until he went cold turkey in 1984.

Then there was George Jones (from the wonderful and often cited here Cocaine and Rhinestones podcast, which seems appropriate): It would be immensely stupid to view this as a competition but, just to give you some idea of what we’re talking about here, Waylon Jennings is someone who famously did more blow than a human should be able to survive. He estimated the cost of his cocaine habit peaking somewhere around $1,500 a day. When Waylon was arrested by the DEA, it was in conjunction with an entire ounce of cocaine someone tried to send him through the mail as a special gift. Comparatively, George Jones used to keep an ounce of cocaine in his pants pocket at all times for personal use. He also walked around with a separate baggie in his shirt-front pocket and a plastic straw sticking out so all he had to do was tilt his head down to the side for a snort. One time, Jones and Waylon were riding around Nashville in a car and they hit a red light, so Jones pulled out a vial to have a little toot while they waited. Waylon thought Jones was out of his mind and sure to get them arrested with such public use of an illegal narcotic. Jones thought nothing of it. He continued behaving this way for approximately seven years. As with the drinking, if this sounds like a party, let me assure you it was not.

I wonder where George was about that time?
posted by TedW at 9:16 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


I assume the movie will open with that photo and a record scratch sound.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:21 AM on August 1 [7 favorites]


Cocaine Bear is the most metal thing I've heard all year. I can only dream of having an obituary half as cool as this goddamn bear.

\m/, Cocaine Bear. \m/
posted by Mayor West at 9:46 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


I assume the movie will open with that photo and a record scratch sound.

“I suppose you’re wondering how I got here.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:48 AM on August 1 [9 favorites]


and that’s what made it attractive in the first place

The cocaine is probably what made the cocaine attractive.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:50 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Wonder if they have any meth gators in that museum exhibit?
posted by abraxasaxarba at 9:54 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I'm imagining a Flowers for Algernon situation, where all that snow super powers its ursine brain, giving it human levels of cognition for those last few minutes of its life. Overwhelmed with drugs there isolated in the Kentucky woods, its suddenly hyper-focused intellect knows what it must do with the last moments of its life: find Studio 54.

also:

PABLO ESCOBEAR
Large beast, unaligned
Armor Class: 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 34 (4D10 + 12)
Speed: 80 ft., climb 60 ft.
STR: 21 (+5), DEX 14 (+2), CON 16 (+3), INT 6 (-3), WIS 3 (-5), CHA 15 (+2)
Skills: Perception -3
Senses: passive Perception 6
Languages: (a wholly-improvised language only it understands, but can conceivably be understood with a Comprehend Languages spell)
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Keen Smell: Pablo has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Permanently Hasted: Pablo functions as if they were under the effect of a permanent Haste spell. The movement and attack stats in this block already take this into account. If Pablo is slowed, they lose one of their bite attacks and on of their claw attacks until the effect ends, and their movement speeds are halved.
Knocking on Heaven's Door: If not defeated in three rounds, Pablo suffers from an immediate heart attack and perishes on the spot. The count begins on the turn of their first attack.

Actions:
Multiattack. Pablo Escobear makes four attacks, biting twice and clawing twice each round.
Bite. Melee weapon attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee weapon attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6+5) slashing damage.
posted by JHarris at 10:16 AM on August 1 [36 favorites]


Note: Do not be fooled by Pablo's low CR, which is down one from what it would be because of his immanent demise. Pablo Escobear looks like a fine opponent for a low-level party, but can possibly do more than 40 damage in a single round. Employ Pablo with caution.
posted by JHarris at 10:22 AM on August 1 [11 favorites]


I have to wonder how one turns a story like this into a movie.

This is clearly the second act of a Coen Brothers movie.
posted by meinvt at 10:25 AM on August 1 [11 favorites]


Ah, I think I got some of the math regarding stats wrong in the D&D monster stat block above. The + values are what's important more than the attribute scores.
posted by JHarris at 10:30 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


I am looking forward to the movie just to see the scene where Pablo consumes the blow and then has 3 minutes of bliss before keeling over.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:30 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Note: Do not be fooled by Pablo's low CR, which is down one from what it would be because of his immanent demise

I would like to nominate this for "most unintentionally-on-the-nose sentence of the week."

Heh. "On-the-nose"
posted by Mayor West at 10:44 AM on August 1 [12 favorites]


Since the bear met its demise in Georgia, it seems to me the best place for it is at Southern Forest World, alongside Stuckie, the Mummified Dog.

Stuckie previously.
posted by TedW at 11:24 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


JHarris, I am sending this to my DM now.
posted by eckeric at 11:25 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


One of the better choices I ever made was to cook up a spreadsheet to do the challenge rating math of D&D monster creation for me.
posted by JHarris at 11:34 AM on August 1


Was there some twists and turns in the autopilot flight plan?

Hijacking by three racoons and a white tail. They set the bear up.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:15 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


It may have been a perfectly rational choice for the bear

A few more years as a bear, living the bear life OR

About ten minutes of transcendental ecstasy
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:23 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Why does it have to be a BLACK bear?

A straight line leads to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic Ocean, ultimately.

This suggests a sound 50 % chance Cocaine Bear intercepted a shipment for a white bear.
posted by Ashenmote at 1:23 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


transcendental ecstasy was on the next flight, sadly
posted by thoroughburro at 1:26 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Let's hope the strategy of "turn a meme into an entire full-length movie" fares better this time than it did for Snakes on a Plane.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:31 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


How long does .5 gram of coke last?

One night.

How long does a gram of coke last?

One night.

How long does a couple of grams of coke last?

One night.

And, finally, how long does 77 pounds of coke last?

...
posted by she's not there at 1:42 PM on August 1 [6 favorites]


...

The rest of your life.
posted by td2x10e3 at 1:50 PM on August 1 [14 favorites]


Snakes on a Plane

I'd pay to see one of those Alien v Predator mashups, but with snakes, planes, and cocaine bears. Elizabeth Banks, have your people talk to my people pls thx.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:35 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Wasn't this basically the plot of A Simple Plan? Except maybe the bear part.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:50 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


OK so clearly someone made off with the cocaine and maybe or maybe didn’t store it in a bear carcass until they could transport it, right? Who was the lucky hunter?
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:02 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


SNORT I don't know man this coke smells like bear
posted by JHarris at 3:14 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


I wonder where George was about that time?

Funny you should say that, because so did everyone else - in fact, it was at exactly the dark spiral in his career, after divorcing Tammy, that he earned the nickname "No Show Jones".

And now I can't leave this thread w/o saying if you've never heard "A Good Year for the Roses" this version with Alan Jackson, once he was sober again, is heartrending.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 4:31 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Laughs in Keith Richards.

Ya, Keef gotta be in this conversation - would def go ahead to head with the Blue Whale - and now David Crosby has entered the chat.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 5:01 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


More: According to the video and Wikipedia, Thornton had a partner in the aircraft with him, who also jumped - and presumably landed safely.
posted by flug at 5:30 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


For all of you wondering how this crazy drug runner/dead cocaine skydiver story gets turned into filmed entertainment, it is clearly the basis for the entire fourth season of the FX show "Justified." Minus the bear, unfortunately.
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 7:38 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Sorry--should have said "previously became filmed entertainment."
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 7:52 PM on August 1


Thornton had a partner in the aircraft with him, who also jumped - and presumably landed safely.

Wow I read that article and the rest and completely missed that. It detracts from the "bear ate 35 kilos of cocaine" narrative so apparently everyone downplays the fact the accomplice likely took what we could and left.
posted by geoff. at 9:15 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


This just bums me out. I feel bad for the bear. :(
posted by pelvicsorcery at 10:10 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Of all of the deaths available to a black bear in the wild, this option was probably one of the less unpleasant.
posted by Optamystic at 2:38 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


This is one of my favorite stories and I can't wait for the movie!
posted by BekahVee at 6:01 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


I’m imagining a Slackers-style thing but instead of just following whoever the current subject interacts with, we follow the cocaine from the initial harvest of coca leaves all the way through processing and transportation.

The movie reference you need is Twenty Bucks, a little-seen 1993 movie that traces the path of a twenty-dollar bill from the moment it comes out of an an armored car into an ATM to its destruction and the people whose lives it crosses (sometimes more than once) and changes.

It has a curious* behind-the-scenes story as well: it is credited to a father-and-son screenwriting duo. The father wrote the screenplay in 1935. Then after the father’s death, the son found the unproduced screenplay and updated it to the current era (the nineties) and managed to get it produced.

*Not taxidermied cocaine bear levels of “curious,” but few things are.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:01 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Last night I had a dream where I reluctantly went with a friend to buy a ton of cocaine. Dozens of cops, a hot dog food truck, a long walk, an unfinished bridge, the smoldering remains of a massive fire, an earthquake, and a kaiju later, I woke up.

I blame this thread.

And no, sadly, the kaiju was not bear-shaped.
posted by May Kasahara at 8:29 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Drugs falling from airplanes used to be common enough trope that the Rev Horton Heat wrote a jokey song called Bales of Cocaine about it.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:19 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


And I would take issue with something in the second link in the FPP:
Griffin and Whit, also sons of the Bluegrass State (like Thornton), made headlines in 2011 when they launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign to replace Kentucky's lame tourism slogan, Unbridled Spirit, with one of their own, Kentucky Kicks Ass.
Lame? If you leave aside the mass-market low-quality fried chicken, Kentucky is arguably best known for two things: possibly the world’s most famous horse race, and producing some entirely drinkable booze. “Unbridled spirit” evokes both of those things, it does it poetically, and it does it in five syllables. Lame? I said GOOD DAY SIR.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:29 AM on August 2 [5 favorites]


"I'm gonna climb up every mountain of the moon
And find the dish that ran away with the spoon"
posted by clavdivs at 6:47 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


I Feel the Need to Share: Nick Terry's promo animations for My Favorite Murder, putting visuals to snippets of Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff podcasting:
(warning for conversational interjection profanity)

Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Hogs
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 8:31 AM on August 3


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