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I hope Tony the Landshark doesn’t start vaping

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It would be a real disappointment if he did.

NCAA Football: Southern Illinois at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

I am warming up to Tony, Ole Miss’ new Landshark mascot.

I miss the Bear mascot dearly, and all of the time-honored Ole Miss traditions he stood for. I miss Admiral Ackbar and am still furious at Rian Johnson for killing him off in The Last Jedi. So Tony has an uphill battle for me to admire him the way a good sports fan should admire his favorite team’s licensed, anthropomorphized animal. And, in my view, he’s done a pretty good job of it so far.

He’s impressed noted nihilist and Bison enthusiast Spencer Hall with his profound silliness. He’s wowed Ciara with his dance moves (no easy feat, given that she’s married to famed dancer Russell Wilson). Kids seem to like him too, which is great.

So, Tony’s winning me over. He is the embodiment of this whole weird landshark thing we have started doing at Ole Miss, and if he is going to be weird and silly then at least he will be our brand of weird and silly.

This is why I really hope he doesn’t start vaping.

I neither smoke nor vape. If you do, that is fine. I think people should do whatever they want, even if that thing is rippin’ off huge, puffy chunks of that sweet cotton. If that’s your thing, then that’s fine. Do it. But I don’t want Tony doing it.

You may think this is an odd thing about which to be concerned. “Nobody would sincerely consider a college football mascot that vapes,” you are surely thinking.

Enter Miami:

I love Sebastian the Ibis. I think he too is a great mascot. Ibises are big, goofy birds who live in Florida. They are supposedly the last birds that return to land prior to a hurricane making landfall. They have long legs and beaks and, according to Wikipedia, like to eat crawfish. What a great mascot!

Sebastian the Ibis is a smoker though. It is strange that a bird would smoke (presumably) tobacco out of a corncob pipe, but that is what he appears to do. The negative health benefits of smoking are well known, and doing so out of a pipe is a bit old fashioned for 2018. It is an odd look, for certain, but not a bad one.

Vaping though is a bad look. It looks bad. It is bad. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Are there negative side effects to vaping? I don’t know. I don’t know if anybody knows. People like to think it’s better than tobacco, which may be true, but...
  2. ...it’s a coward’s way to smoke. If you wanna fill your lungs with something other than the air around you, then the least you can do is buy a pack of Pall Malls and billow up like Kurt Vonnegut. You want a nicotine buzz, but you don’t want the cigarette stink and tobacco side effects? C’mon.
  3. It looks kinda weird. Like, you’re carrying around this giant Wiimote looking thing that you suck on before blasting out a giant cloud of vapor? It looks weird. Everybody knows it. It also smells funny, and I don’t care how many flavors of vape you have.
  4. It’s a fad. Right? This isn’t going to be a thing forever. Please tell me that.
  5. Vape pens are dangerous maybe? Somebody in St. Petersburg, Florida (of course) died earlier this year because his vape pen exploded while he was using it. I would hate for that to happen to Tony.
  6. Mascots are ultimately for the kids, and I do not think it is smart to have a mascot potentially influencing the sort of behavior that leads to vaping. Adults should not express serious opinions about mascots, except for this opinion that I am expressing right now. This one is important.

In all, It would be a bad look for a mascot. I hope Tony doesn’t start vaping.