The sun still rises. The birds still sing. But nothing will ever be the same.
Touchdown, our beloved mascot, has become something’s breakfast. He was brutally murdered early this morning, seemingly swallowed whole. Cornell University Police Department is currently conducting an investigation.
It was not the fate that should have befallen a bear of such sophistication and grace.
As students fled Ithaca and Cornell’s campus returned to its natural state, the elusive Touchdown returned to the University, proving yet again that Nature Is Healing, And We Are The Virus. With his cute red and white scarf and little Cornell hat, the sight of Touchdown gallivanting up and down the campus, feasting violently upon ground squirrels on the steps of Goldwin Smith, brought a tear to the eye and a song to the hearts of all who saw him. However, this natural utopia did not last long.
On her daily run this morning, Winnie Dapoh ’20 noticed that ground squirrels had once again returned to the Arts Quad. This was unusual, because, “Ever since Touchdown reappeared and began viciously tearing their heads off for dinner, there haven’t been that many squirrels around,” Dapoh said.
With a sinking heart, Dapoh noticed a red scarf, covered in Touchdown’s telltale matted brown fur, lying dirty and crumpled on the ground. A few paces away lay Touchdown’s adorable, tiny baseball cap, in a similar state of disrepair. Most tragically of all — Dapoh sobbed as she communicated the last, most damning piece of evidence — “A piece of Touchdown’s little bear ear was lying on the grass, with obvious teeth marks imprinted on one end.”
The distressing news quickly spread across Ithaca; the town reacted with shock, horror and disbelief. “I would give anything to wake up one morning and find Touchdown ravaging my garden, trying to eat the cat again,” said tearful Ithaca resident Paddington “Paddy” Beihr.
“We’re always rooting for you, Touchdown — we hope you give it indigestion,” wept Baloo Dubeer ’21.
One resident, who requested anonymity out of fear of internet backlash, suggested a different point of view: “Frankly, it was really disconcerting to go for a quiet walk and find Touchdown disemboweling squirrels in front of Olin.” The virtual interview ended suddenly when, upon hearing his answer, his significant other attacked him with a frying pan.
Neither President Martha E. Pollack nor Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi have publicly commented on the death. Horror-struck students still expect an email, but Cornell seemingly refuses to acknowledge the passing of this beloved bear.
As for the culprit, little is known. According to eyewitness accounts, the predator, with Touchdown in its belly, seems to have vanished into nothing. Though many hope for a “Jonah and the Whale”-esque ending, it is deeply unlikely that Touchdown will survive this mystery animal’s digestive juices. Until this ‘perfect predator’ is caught, however, CUPD encourages Ithaca residents to stay watchful and vigilant. Something much bigger than Touchdown roams Cornell’s campus, lurking in the shadows.
CUPD declined to respond to multiple requests for comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
This piece is part of The Sun’s April 20 joke issue series. For more, visit https://cornellsun.com/category/four-twenty/.