My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years. During this decade and a half, there has been an ongoing dispute between us about an American icon’s name. The disagreement began before we actually married, when I referred to a US National Forest Service mascot as Smokey the Bear. My husband, who is a Forester by trade, became livid.
“No! It is Smokey Bear. Not Smokey THE Bear. You wouldn’t say Santa THE Claus would you?” he asked.
I explained to him that at the age of five, I was given a Golden Book that had the USFS official seal and the title of the book was “Smokey the Bear”. It illustrated the official story of Smokey, a bear that later became the mascot of the US National Forest Service after being rescued from a wildfire. The bear in the story was turned into a legendary character that spreads the message of wildfires and fire safety in the National Parks and all over the US.
This argument has persisted over the years, with neither party giving in. It has provided hours of entertainment and even came up in discussion last night, while we were enjoying Louisiana crawfish, cool libations, and the wonderful company of our Austin friends, Dallas and Billy.
When the discussion of Smokey came up, we all happened to have our mobile phones in hand. Dallas was taking pictures of his son, I was Tweeting about the wine I was enjoying (since TwitterMoms Wine Club was going on #tmwc), my husband was trying to figure out the new iPhone 3GS we gave him for Father’s Day, and Billy was joining in on the TwitterMoms online tasting letting the participants know that he was enjoying an Abita Amber instead of vino. As the argument between my husband and I started getting heated, I stopped and said, “Let’s settle this by Twitter.”
Billy jumped up screaming, “Yes! Now THAT’s what I’m talking about.”
I pulled out my Crackberry and proceeded to Tweet: Is it Smokey Bear or Smokey the Bear?
Over the next few hours, opinions and answers came in and are still coming in. Lovely Tweeples such as @YatPundit, @JennFowler, @BarbaraDrake, @KDepp, @rurugby, @nwahs086, and @amalchik tried to help us settle the dispute. But, the Tweet that settled the argument came from @CitiesontheCheap which included a link to SmokeyBear.com and the explanation of Smokey’s name.
Final verdict: We were both wrong. Technically, the name is just Smokey.
Big thanks to everyone who replied to my Tweet. This is a prime example of the many ways Twitter is useful. Have you ever settled a dispute by using Twitter?