Sparky, SLU’s racoon martyr, deserves own day

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For those of you that don’t know, we’re coming up on a very important anniversary here at Saint Louis University, and as is customary for a one-year anniversary, my gift will be paper. A newspaper. The one you’re holding right now. This gift is for Sparky.

On the morning of Sept. 30, 2015, one brave, little trash-digger boldly bit into a power line and cut electricity to the east half of SLU’s campus. This loss of power resulted in the cancellation of all classes on the Frost campus. That was the day that Sparky, a tenacious and undoubtedly handsome raccoon, darkened campus and lit up our hearts. Here is why I believe that Sparky Day should be a campus holiday:

It’s basically Earth Day. Humanity vs. nature is a common theme in literature and film. “Into the Wild,” “Heart of Darkness,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” “The Revenant,” “The Martian”— the list goes on and on. In all of those stories, nature only explicitly wins once, and unless you’re just sick of reading, you’re probably not rooting for nature. Isn’t it time we celebrate just once the triumph of nature over man? Appreciation of this lil bandit would reflect and encourage the SLU community’s love of nature and our commitment to the lives of future raccoons. So long as school is cancelled every Sept. 30, students need not wish another raccoon undue harm.

It resulted in a pre-Thanksgiving. It’s not everyday you freely gather with friends and family, especially when you’re busy with school. But Sparky’s quite literal biting of the bullet resulted in a pseudo-Tanksgiving between students living east of Simon Rec and those living west of it. Students living in Fusz, Pruellage and the Village invited their Griesedieck brothers and sisters to bask in the light of the fluorescents and break bread with them at Subway. I think we would all appreciate a day spent with those peers who live just a little too far away for us to bother walking over to, and while we eat with our distant friends, we could each pour out a little cat food for our old pal Sparky.

It was essentially Christmas. And I don’t just mean that the day off was a gift. Sparky’s martyrdom was a modern-day Christ allegory. Sparky the raccoon died to absolve us of our classes. While I am almost certain that he did not rise again (I heard he was in like, a hundred chunks), his impact on the SLU community has been lasting and memorable. Sparky truly lived out the mission of the University by sacrificing himself for the good of humanity, as a service to the community. Did Sparky know what he was doing, or what price he would pay for his actions? Probably not. But I hope he got what he was reaching for before going out in a beautiful blaze of glory. Most likely a bug of some kind.

R.I.P. Sparky, the raccoon that burns twice as bright but burns half as long.