Denver Bar Association
April 2011
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The Great Bear

by David Erickson



remember when I got my first cell phone. A special deal was offered to those in our firm and I signed up. The phone rep then came by our offices and asked me if there was any special phone number I’d like to have. I told him I hadn’t thought about it, but since I lived on Bear Mountain, if there was a number that had “BEAR” in it, that it would be nice. 

When the phone arrived, I found the number assigned was 478-2327, or for those of you who like to do letter-to-number conversions, it was GR8BEAR. Pretty cool, I thought!

Not long after that, I went into the Division of Motor Vehicles to order license plates for my Jeep. When the clerk asked me if I’d like to have personalized plates, I told her I hadn’t thought about it, but if they had GR8BEAR available, I’d get that. It was, so my car now had GR8BEAR plates.

Next, I had a problem with our water well. The state permit showed it was a quarter of a mile away, so I needed to file a corrected description with the State Engineer’s Office. While talking with the clerk at the counter, she began filling out the proper forms to make the change. When she asked for the name of my well I told her I didn’t know wells could have names, but as long as they could, I’d name it the GREAT BEAR WELL.

Next, I needed to form a new entity, the plan being to use it for investments. So, I went to the Secretary of State’s Office and asked if the name G8BEAR was available for a business name. When they said it was, I formed an entity in that name. Just to make sure I was fully covered, I also filed on Great Bear as a trade name for the entity.

Things were going along just fine at this point, as I seemed to have cornered the “Great Bear” name in this state. The license plates continued to draw comments, though some being kind of snide, no doubt due to their jealousy over my designation.

A couple of years later, I was in Rawlins, Wyo., with my wife and we stopped to get something to eat. I was standing next to my Jeep with the GR8BEAR plates when two cowboys approached. I don’t know if they were really cowboys but I do know this: they were a heck of lot bigger than I am and they were wearing blue jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats, and had on those shirts with the fancy cowboy stitching and little pearly snap buttons. They sure looked like cowboys to me.

So, one of them came up real close to me, which made me kind of nervous, and said in a kind of accusatory tone: “You Great Bear?”

“Yep!” I replied, “and this is Little Bear,” motioning toward my wife with my thumb.

They just laughed and walked off.

The next time I bought a car I didn’t renew my GR8BEAR license plate. So, I guess someone else is the new GR8BEAR in this state, along with all the honors and recognition that pertains to it. Now, I’m just plain old 079-KMG.

Maybe that better fits my personality anyway. D

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