While Buckingham U. Badger is a beloved school mascot, it is important to remember that he is both a wild animal and an individual with feelings of his own. Despite decades of training, he will always have instincts deep within him that, if you’re not careful, may cause him to be a danger to himself and others. Here’s what you should know to keep yourself safe.
First and foremost, do not make direct eye contact with Bucky. In the wild, eye contact is a threat, and Bucky does not stand down when he is threatened. If you must look at him, look at the tip of his nose. He can tell the difference and, boy, what a difference it makes. Badgers are scavengers, so their sense of smell is crucial to their survival. Paying attention to his nose is a massive compliment, and he will be incredibly gracious.
Second, do not ask Bucky about his GPA. He has been enrolled at the university for over 80 years. He is incredibly self-conscious about his academic performance. More than that, he attends university and athletics events as a healthy outlet. He loves showing school spirit, but remember that Bucky’s story is one of perseverance.
Third — and this should go without saying — keep your fingers away from his mouth. While he is usually seen with a massive smile due to his love of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bucky’s teeth are razor sharp. Even a gentle or accidental bite will send you to the hospital with your fingers in a cooler.
Fourth, do not offer Bucky any food or alcohol. His trainers will not appreciate it if you give him any food outside his strict diet. Additionally, Bucky has been on the wagon for almost six years and does not need the temptation to ruin that hard work. We all love the badger he has become, so seeing him relapse would devastate our campus and community.
Fifth, if you see Bucky at the supermarket, treat him as you would anyone else. He is a celebrity; he knows you recognize him. Please, don’t take away his ability to feel like just another member of the community. Ensuring Bucky feels comfortable around town is one of the greatest traditions of UW-Madison — respect it accordingly.
Lastly, do not ask Bucky where he was on November 24, 1971. My freshman year roommate made that mistake at our very first football game. I am not permitted to share more than that.
There is more to keep in mind, but hopefully they are common sense like never letting Bucky know your social security number and never high-fiving him with your left hand. Please, for Bucky’s sake, keep in mind that ignoring these tips may lead to him acting in ways that force the university to consider putting him down.
Whether you’re a student, family or just a fan, I hope this helps you stay safe during your time at UW-Madison. Go Badgers!
Jeffrey Brown is a former Arts Editor for the Daily Cardinal. He writes for The Beet occasionally and does some drawing and photography too. He is a senior majoring in Sociology. Do not feed him after midnight.