#809: The Pantheon of Terrible Chicago Mascots Welcomes Jewel-Osco’s JoJo, Who Feeds on Children’s Darkness

June 28th, 2017

Please take a moment to enjoy this image of JoJo the Bloodshot before beginning this story.

[Scene: A conference room in a spacious Loop skyscraper. A group of foam and fur creatures wander around the table, chatting and sipping coffee. A pantsless preteen bear trades business cards with a dancing pig as a giant eagle squats and starts to say “I’ve got something-” to an inflatable women’s basketball fan with a jetpack.]

[A giant green pile of sentient moss shaped like a child’s drawing of a dinosaur walks in, takes off his White Sox cap and places an attache case at the head of the conference table.]

CHAIRMAN: Welcome, gentlemen, and let’s begin. Clark the Pantsless Bear Cub, please have a seat. Ribbie, Roobarb, Waldo the White Sox Wolf, glad you could join us. Dancing Moo & Oink grocery store cow, there’s a spot in the corner next to Benny the Bull’s 1990s x-treme cousin Da Bull.

[The conversations break up as the mascots find seats around the table.]

CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Thank you. As chairman of the Pantheon of Terrible Chicago Mascots, I hereby call this monthly meeting to order.

[Chairman hits oversized foam gavel against the table. It makes a honking noise]

CHAIRMAN: If no one has any objections, I’d like to dispense with the agenda and go directly to new business. As you know, this organization was founded with one mission — to create a space for the worst marketing decisions in the city’s history to meet, network and build community.

Let the Pantheon of Good Chicago Mascots have SUE the T-Rex, the Svengoolies of the world, the Benny the Bulls and Bozo the Clowns, the Empire Carpet Guys or that line-drawing logo of Harry Caray atop all the steakhouses. We need a place for pantsless preteen furries!

CLARK THE CUB: Yes!

CHAIRMAN: Or livestock dancing in front of rows of their rendered peers in a series of 1980s grocery store ads.

COW AND PIG: Mooooooooooo and oooooooooink!

CHAIRMAN: Or the white male mascot for Chicago’s predominantly African-American women’s basketball team.

SKY GUY: Hear, hear!

CHAIRMAN: And whatever the hell it is that I am! I mean, am I a green furry dinosaur? Am I, like, a blob of something? All I know is my name is Southpaw and I love the White Sox and… that’s it, man. It’s all empty up in what I assume is a head but could be like a pseudopod or bit of lawn something.

If you read the newspapers, you might have heard that local grocery store and pharmacy chain Jewel-Osco has debuted a new mascot. Its name is JoJo, it encourages children to eat healthy and gives them cookies and, without further ado, I would like you all to meet JoJo!

[In shuffles a gender-neutral red furry cyclops in a collarless button-up that might be either baseball jersey or Nehru jacket. It stands in silence before the room. After a few moments, it waves and offers the Chicago Sky’s Sky Guy a cookie.]

WALDO THE WHITE SOX WOLF: What is it?

CHAIRMAN: As near as we can tell, it’s some sort of living virus, or if that red monster Bugs Bunny sometimes fought lost an eye in a fireworks accident and took up drinking. All I know is I’m looking at a terrible mascot that might feed off the darkness found in children’s souls, and that means he’s one of us. I move for immediate membership.

[Crowd breaks into arguing, yelling and shouting.]

MAN IN A SUIT: I… feel… that… this… is… an… out…

[Four minutes pass]

MAN IN A SUIT: … rage…

SORTA PINKISH-PURPLISH EARLESS ELEPHANT THING WEARING THE REALLY UGLY ERA OF WHITE SOX JERSEY: I agree with Peter Francis Geraci! We did not become the finest of clownish representations of Chicagoana to let just anyone in.

SKY GUY: Calm down, Ribbie… or, um, Roobarb… which one are…

SORTA PINKISH-PURPLISH EARLESS ELEPHANT THING WEARING THE REALLY UGLY ERA OF WHITE SOX JERSEY: I don’t know. But giving this grocery store hell-monster membership days after its undoubtedly Lovecraftian spawning is unacceptable. We all spent years — years! — honing ourselves into living caricatures, replete with catchphrases and antics as predictable as a ticking clock.

[A well-coiffed suburbanite rushes in.]

WELL-COIFFED SUBURBANITE: Moutza! Moutza moutza.

CHAIRMAN: Take a seat, Kass. We all know you’ve got the longest commute here, so no worries about being late.

WELL-COIFFED SUBURBANITE: Moutza. Moutza moutza Hillary Clinton moutza.

CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen! First, someone get Kass up to speed. Second, heed my words.

[Chairman Lawnbeast stands up dramatically. The room is silent except for the Moo & Oink pig whispering to the well-coiffed suburbanite that he’s pretty sure Obama isn’t to blame.]

CHAIRMAN: Now I might be a simple… Oh, what the HELL am I? I mean, even Wikipedia doesn’t- … Deep breaths, Southpaw. Take it off the board, take it off the board. Now I might be a simple… lawn/dinosaur/booger thing, but even I know we all had to start somewhere. Some of you were lousy Phillie Phanatic knock-offs put in place to dislodge a much-more popular clown.

[Everyone turns to look at '80s White Sox mascots Ribbie and Roobarb.]

CHAIRMAN: One of you was a simple bear cub, ripped off from Baloo’s sidekick in that “TaleSpin” show from the ‘90s down to your kicked cap and lack of pants.

[Everyone turns to look at Clark. He starts to rise to say something, but everyone averts their eyes and yells at him to sit down again.]

CHAIRMAN: One of you was even a journalist once!

[Everyone turns to look at Benny the Bull’s 1990s x-treme cousin Da Bull.]

DA BULL: Medill.

CHAIRMAN: But we all have one thing in common: We were just terrible, terrible marketing decisions whose very existence gives children nightmares. And by this criterion, how can we say JoJo the Jewel-Osco one-eyed furry oval in a collarless button-up is not one of us?

[Long pause while the green sod-monster’s words sink in.]

WELL-COIFFED SUBURBANITE: Meeeeeeat puppet.

EAGLE INSURANCE COMPANY’S EAGLE MAN: Well said, old friend. Well said.

[The eagle stands up and walks to Jojo, who shuffles nervously.]

EAGLE MAN: I’ve got something for you.

[The eagle extends his hand-wing in a warm embrace. Jojo smiles, revealing a jagged cavern of stalactite/stalagmite tooth shards in which the souls of children falter and die. The eagle and soul-stealer shake hands as the Pantheon of Terrible Chicago Mascots bursts into applause and rush to greet their newest member.]

[By the table’s head, two whisper.]

SKY GUY: So wait, you’re not a dinosaur?

CHAIRMAN: I just don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

- Fin -

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You are currently reading #809: The Pantheon of Terrible Chicago Mascots Welcomes Jewel-Osco’s JoJo, Who Feeds on Children’s Darkness by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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