To truly prove oneself a successful man, a much larger animal needs to be defeated in unarmed combat. Unfortunately, most people do not have large animals at easy disposal, and horses, the most readily available large animal, do not make for practical fighters.

When faced with this dilemma, my first thought was to go to the zoo and see if I could fight any of their animals to the death. Zoos are a popular source of animals, especially exotic ones, so if you can work out a deal with a zookeeper, you've got yourself a good fight for sure.

I approached a kindly zookeeper as he joyfully watched his bears frolic and play like giant murderous manchildren, hoping to persuade him to let me kill one.

"Those are some fine bears," I said.

"They sure are."

"I bet defeating one in unarmed combat would be a real rush."

"These bears would likely rip you to shreds. They are not to be taken lightly. For example, that big brown bear over there--"

"Hey, great!" I interrupted. "Look, sir, I just want to fight and kill one bear. You've got like five at this zoo alone. That odd number has got to be causing some problems anyway. Let-"

"Excuse me?" he rudely interjected.

"Let me finish, please! Let me take on the one lonely bear that doesn't have a mate and just makes the other bears feel awkward. I'll kill that one and do you a service. Or, if there is a bear that's kind of a jerk to its mate, I can kill that one, so the lonely bear can swoop in and fill the void."

"I'm not letting you anywhere near my bears. You are joking, right?"

"I really hoped it wouldn't come to this, but look, here is $12 bucks and a coupon for a free cookie at Subway."

"I think you better leave the zoo, son!" barked the angry zookeeper from up on his high horse. Obviously he was afraid to let others succeed in life. A pansy like him couldn't handle the thought of a more successful men out there.

When you can't fight a bear the next best thing is to dress a large dog up as one and fight it. Once the adrenaline starts flowing, you probably won't even care that it's not really a bear as you'll be busy working hard to kill it.

Dogs are readily available from used dog stores, also known as animal shelters and pounds. I was able to quickly secure ownership of a large elderly Bernese Mountain Dog named Albert. On the way home from the shelter, I stopped at a pawnshop and purchased a bearskin rug for $12 and a free cookie coupon after haggling for twenty minutes. When I got back to the car, Albert looked pretty iffy. I guess I should have cracked a window since it was a 90 degree day. Hopefully it would give him some motivation to work with during our fight.

As big as Albert was, he was still only half the size of a bear. So I wrapped him in dirty laundry to increase his mass. After I got him padded pretty heavily, I put the bearskin rug over top. The only thing left to do was to defeat this dog in unarmed combat.

Although Albert seemed unable to maneuver, that didn't stop me from quickly putting him in a chokehold. The moment you show mercy to an enemy is the moment you let your guard down and give them the advantage. After about twenty minutes of awkward chokeholds, Albert toppled over and I was victorious at long last.

Unfortunately, Albert, being the sore loser that he was in life, fell over on my legs, pinning me under his massive weight. He was heavy enough as is, but the added bulk of the laundry and rug just made it impossible for me to get out from under him. Success isn't always easy. Sometimes success sits on top of you for two days, causing you to wet yourself while also giving you a horrible leg cramp.

Eventually a neighbor heard my sorrowful moans for help and notified the landlord, who came and rescued me.

"What the hell happened in here?" he asked.

"That's my laundry. It fell on me when I pulled it out of the dryer."

"What dryer? You don't have a dryer. And why is your laundry in the shape of a dog and why is there a bearskin rug on top of it?"

"That is none of your business. Now can you please help me out from under this vanquished foe?"

After he helped lift Albert's corpse off of me, I quickly shoed him out the door before he could leach any of my success away for himself.

I never set out to kill the dog, merely win against him in a fight to the death. In doing so, I finally proved myself a truly successful man in all fronts.

Special thanks to Shmorky for providing almost all the illustrations. Bonus points to you, for somehow managing to make it all the way to the end, big guy (or lady).

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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