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Alone I protect and work when I shouldn't
If I get mixed up with you I'll take a dive
Squeeze in a sun god the wrong way and I will bug you

Decapitate me if you have places to be
Cut off my tail to hear the sounds of Jamaica
Do both and I'll just be a bear

What am I?

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1 Answer 1

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You are a

scab.

It's in your best interest to just leave me be

This is the best policy when you have one.

Alone I protect and work when I shouldn't

A scab protects an injury while it heals. It also means a strikebreaker.

If I get mixed up with you I'll take a dive

SCUBA.

Squeeze in a sun god the wrong way and I will bug you

SC(AR)AB. It didn't need to be the wrong way: SCA(RA)B.

Decapitate me if you have places to be

CAB.

Cut off my tail to hear the sounds of Jamaica

SCA. (Usual spelling is SKA, but it is "to hear" ...)

Do both and I'll just be a bear

Perhaps because of the identification of California (CA) with the grizzly bear.

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    $\begingroup$ "If I get mixed up with you I'll take a dive"..it's 'scuba' $\endgroup$
    – manshu
    Jun 16, 2016 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ you beat me. I was typing these up when I saw your answer come in... :P Nice work! $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2016 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @manshu, I think I fixed that while you were typing your comment. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jun 16, 2016 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @kayzeroshort, sorry about that. (Is it considered rude around here to write a super-brief answer and then expand it? That's my usual practice with these, but it's kinda unfair to anyone who prefers to write a thorough answer first.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jun 16, 2016 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Gareth McCaughan no worries. you actually got your explanations out as well before I was finished, so you beat me twice. not sure about the quick answer etiquette either, i've been wondering about that. seems like all's fair in love and puzzles. $\endgroup$ Jun 16, 2016 at 15:34

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