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Illustrated animals mingling at a party while a falcon stands alone. A thought bubble reads "They don't know I'm TMU's new mascot"
Berry Shi/The Eyeopener
All Fun & Satire

Enough is enough, I need a name

By Ishitaa Chopra

Bold and beloved—not! That is what Eggy had told me when they gave me their reins to be the new mascot of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). They told me students and faculty would love me, adore me and even make secret handshakes with me. I thought I’d have inside jokes and be subjected to constant high-fives. There was a promise of apparel made with my name that the campus bookstore clerks would sell for an exceedingly high price. I thought people would chant my name every time I walked past them but what do I get instead? I get ignored and side-eyed. Ignored by students, faculty and ruthless campus pigeons. It is embarrassing that even other fellow birds refuse to acknowledge me. Talk about a lack of camaraderie and allyship.

I wanted to be their God; rather, I was told I would be their God. 

I remember the day like no other. Eggy and I were sitting on the steps of the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) and it was sunny but relatively cloudy. I remember it drizzling. I could feel the water seeping into my feathers and with every new drop falling from the sky, I dreamt of dancing with the students and the players when the TMU Bold won. The sheer feeling of celebration poisoned my veins.

They may have horns but I have wings. I symbolize vision, intuition and bravery…”

Dammit, I was supposed to be the one dancing to “Hotline Bling” by Drake for every newly accepted student in their congratulations video and “Y’all ready for this” by Jock Jams at all the games. Hello! I’m supposed to be the school’s identity. I wanted to have the fame and fortune that other mascots receive, if not more. 

Now, I scan the crowded hallways of Jorgenson Hall, waiting to be recognized. I long to be loved but I get nasty looks from students. I do not blame them. I do not have a name. I am an outsider and do not fit in. I am different but I do not want to be. I could be Chandler Bing to your Joey Tribbiani, Taylor Swift to your Selena Gomez and Harold to your Kumar. Truthfully, I just wanna be yours. 

Could you imagine how much I would thrive in a university like TMU? People are already chasing each other with little mics asking to be interviewed. Every Monday, students stand in long lines to pet a furry creature and most importantly, students constantly post their silly little dances on TikTok. I love talking and dancing and I am a furry creature too! I am perfect for the job.

Eggy enjoyed everything—the orientations and the farewells. The laughter and the tears. But me? I sit on those same cold hard SLC stairs in the snow, ice seeping into my already cold veins. I can’t help but develop resentment toward Eggy. Hell, I still see their stupid horns on people’s sweatshirts. What is so special about Eggy that I do not have? What do they offer that I can’t? They may have horns but I have wings. I symbolize vision, intuition and bravery, yet I sit here all lonely and blah. 

Truthfully, I just wanna be yours” 

All I ask is for a name. It doesn’t even have to be a good or catchy name, just something I can call my own. I want to go to Balzac’s or Starbucks and have the baristas write my name down on the paper cups. I want my name to be called out at coffee shops. Oh what I would give to wear the “Hello, my name is…” tag. I want to go to Woodbine Beach to write out my name in the sand, even if it will inevitably be washed away. During the weekends, I want to walk into Warehouse, hand-in-hand with the students and hear the bouncer call out my name (no pun intended). How am I even supposed to introduce myself? How am I supposed to make friends if I do not have a name? How am I a mascot for a university without a name? 

How hard can it be to come up with a name? Elon Musk named his child X AE A-XII Musk and the Kardashian clan named their children using the game “Pencils down: name, place, animal, thing!” Maybe, it would be easier to have students sit in a circle and play a game of telephone. Whatever lethal combination of letters that comes out of the last person shall be my name. 

Or I could be like Adele, Snoop Dogg or Lana Del Rey and name myself. I want a name like Youppi! from the Montreal Canadiens, The Raptor or Burnie from the Miami Heat. Wouldn’t you agree that Mr. Met from the New York Mets would suit me better? Perhaps, I could be named after a famous bird. How does Feathers or Birdie sound? Maybe Tweety, Big Bird or Woody Woodpecker? Something has to fit.

It has been more than 200 days. TMU picked me, it chose me but it won’t love me or name me. So, for the time being, I would like to formally refer to and more importantly,  make others call me Famms. For now at least. The F stands for friendly, fashionable, fresh, fluffy and straight-up fantastic. But more importantly it stands for, as Dominic Toretto would say, family, since some students call their peers “fam” lovingly. I would like to be considered family. Do I not deserve it? 

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