Billiken sent packing

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Billiken sent packing

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Mascot laid off due to budget cuts

Faced with a budget shortfall of almost $16 million, Saint Louis University officials made the decision to terminate the Billiken on Tuesday. The decision came as a surprise to the long-time SLU employee, who had over 107 years of experience working in the athletics department as the school’s mascot.

“I’m still kind of shocked, to be quite honest,” said the Billiken. “I knew things were bad, of course, but after I made it past the recent round of layoffs, I figured I was in the clear. I guess not.”

The Billiken has had a long and eventful career at SLU. After he was patented in St. Louis in 1908, he spent several years as a good luck symbol before he started working at SLU in 1911, at the age of 3. He has served in a number of different positions over the years, working as a groundskeeper, desk worker and DPS officer. He even had a brief stint in the ‘80s as an adjunct professor, teaching Troll Economics and Gremlin Studies. But the Billiken says his true calling has always been as the school mascot.

“I can’t believe they fired him,” said junior Abigail Summers. “He was always so friendly and enthusiastic. He was literally, like, the face of this school.”

Many remember the Billiken for his fanatic support of SLU’s basketball team. He was a regular sight on the sidelines of each and every home game, dressed in all blue, often cheering, dancing and sometimes even running onto the court at halftime. Despite his extreme antics, he was never disciplined for his behavior or prevented from attending games.

University officials released a statement on the recent firing, saying, “These are difficult times for the university, and we have been forced to make many difficult decisions. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Billiken for his many years of service, and we wish him great luck in the future.”

But job prospects look grim, according to the 8-foot tall Buddha-like creature, who will be celebrating his 110th birthday later this year. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s a tough market out there for us fantasy creatures. Being a mascot is all I have ever known. And let’s face it, it’s not like I’m as famous the Notre Dame Leprechaun or the Syracuse Orange. Who is going to want to hire a guy like me?”

“I’m starting to wish I hadn’t just spent all that money on my facelift,” he added.