A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!

Dec 27, 2023

Does a Bear Eat Tacos in the Woods?

A gathering of my favorite theorists

By Ed Goldman

ITEM: A fast-food loving bear stole a $45 Taco Bell order from the front porch of a home in the Orlando suburb of Longwood moments after the Uber Eats driver delivered it, an Orlando television station reported. The criminal was a black bear estimated to weigh 300 to 400 pounds — CBS News.  

Two of the world’s greatest fictional detectives are in my living room to solve a perplexing case: a bear’s doorstep theft of Taco Bell meals and, in a sudden return visit, the intended beverages.

Because there’s doorbell video of the crime, no one doubts that the bear did it. And yet…

Edgy Cartoon

House detectives

“I gotta say, it’s refreshing to not haveta say ‘alleged’ before the word ‘perp,’” says LAPD’s famous TV cop Lieutenant Columbo. “Mrs. Columbo has been gettin’ so tired of dat.”

“A brilliant observation, Leftenant,” says Sherlock Holmes as he fills an enormous briar pipe with what, when torched, turns out to be a rather acrid-smelling tobacco—a mixture equally redolent of damp British moors and unwashed gym socks.

“Uh, it’s pronounced LOOtenant, not LEFtenant, sir,” Columbo politely corrects him.

“My apologies, Old Man,” says Holmes. “It’s how we pronounce it in England. But then, you’d know that, seeing as how your deliberately rumpled raincoat is actually from a Savile Row outlet store in Mayfair, which you must have popped over to purchase while filming your 1972 episode ‘Dagger of the Mind’ in London.”

“Dat’s amazing,” Columbo says, dramatically grabbing his hair as though doing so will prevent his brain from falling out. “How’d you do dat?”

“Elementary, my dear Columbo,” Holmes says with a smug chuckle (the worst kind). “You have a copy of the London Times protruding from your jacket pocket. The headline is about the first Pride March held in the UK. That was in July of 1972, if memory serves. And in my case, of course it does. So you either just bought it on your way here or you’ve carried it in your pocket all these years for some reason I would hope is largely irrelevant. There’s enough speculation about Watson and me, as it is.”

“Just amazing, sir,” Columbo says. “I guess you’ll solve da case of da Taco Bell bear all right. An’ your pal Doctor Watson will write about it. By da way, I thought him and you always travel together.”

“He should be along shortly, Leftenant,” Holmes says—if you ask me, which you probably won’t, a bit uncomfortably. “Anyway, it’s rather clear from the video that the case is sol—“

“Oh, is it?” Columbo says, standing a little straighter and relighting a cigar that smells even worse than Holmes’s pipe. “Take a closer look at da video, Mister Holmes. Notice anyt’ing unusual?”

The three of us do so. “I must say, Columbo, I don’t see anything out of the usual.”

“Notice da zipper on da bear’s back? Dat ain’t his spine, sir. Dat’s a zipper. It’s a guy in a bear suit, not a bear. I can see dat even though one of my eyes is glass.”

Holmes stares closely and though it seems he’s going to be embarrassed, he instead claps Columbo on the back. A bit hard, it seems.

“That kinda hurt, sir,” Columbo says.

“Of course it did, Leftenant. You walk in a constant stoop on your show. In fact, you have the posture of a question mark. Now look back at that video. Notice the bear’s stride. Coincidence?”

“But he’s walkin’ on four legs,” Columbo says. “I just wrecked my back playin’ pool as a kid.”

“Nonsense! I suggest that you, in fact, are the man in the bear suit in this video!”

“But that’s ridic–“

My doorbell rings and who should it be but Dr. John Watson, Holmes’s chronicler, roomie and possible plus-one. He carries in one hand a very large empty bag that still smells of hot sauce. In the other, he holds the bear-head cowl he’d presumably been wearing when he snatched the doorstep dinner. But he looks ill.

Looking for a Great Gift?

“I say, Watson, what’s this all about?” says Holmes.

“Oh, Holmes,” he says, contritely and woozily, “I’m afraid I stole all the Taco Bell food, ate it and now am quite sick.” Then he turns to me. “You do have a loo, I presume?”

I point him to it and we don’t see him for the rest of the night.

“What was his problem?” asks Columbo.

“Alimentary, my dear Columbo,” says Holmes. 

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, N.A.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


This is the time of year to practice the spirit of giving—personally but also professionally.

For corporations, giving back is a worthy goal and can be a transformative one. SoFi Bank NA practices social responsibility and makes an impact by giving back through time, skills, and resources.

In 2023, Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi NA, contributed over $215,000 in grants to many local nonprofit community organizations located in the greater Sacramento communities we serve. In addition, staff in our GPB division spent hundreds of hours volunteering for charitable organizations and community projects throughout Sacramento, Yuba City, and the city of Live Oak. SoFi sponsored many of these voluntary activities as great team-building activities.

In the fast-paced banking and finance industry, it’s heartening to work for an organization that fosters a culture of giving. As famously said by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Here are some of the organizations we supported:

  • Yuba Sutter Food Bank
  • Alchemist CDC
  • Sacramento State
  • Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce
  • Family Promise of Sacramento
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Mercy Pedalers
  • Roberts Family Development Center
  • Sacramento Justice League
  • Sacramento Region Performing Arts
  • Safe Ground Sacramento
  • Be Encouraged, Inc.
  • Soroptimist International of Sutter/Yuba
  • The Dominguez Dream
  • Yuba Sutter Economic Development Corp

Our management supports “giving” initiatives that promote the well-being of others and our communities—and at the same time, also promote the collective success and fulfillment of our staff.

We’re glad to do it. And we’re proud to be part of a business that so tangibly and willingly supports charitable giving and community involvement. We wish all of you a healthy, giving 2024.

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