This week, Philadelphia's professional hockey team, the Flyers, unveiled its new team mascot: an orange haired, googly-eyed beast named Gritty. For some unknown reason—perhaps due to a desperate need for a distraction from the increasingly disheartening Kavanaugh saga—this seemingly middling bit of sports PR sparked a fire inside the collective internet mind. Sports Illustrated immediately proclaimed that Gritty has stolen America's heart, Deadspin dubbed it "Gritty's world now," and Jezebel named him their "new Fall crush." Some dude on Twitter even claims he would "die for Gritty." That's a little much.
But not everyone has fallen under the spell of Gritty. Not everyone has succumbed to his seductive charms. He may have taken a nasty spill on the ice during his NHL debut on Monday night, supposedly proving that he is just as flawed and human as the rest of us, but do not let that fool you. I don't trust Gritty. Neither should you.
First, what even is he? He looks more like an ambulatory spaghetti squash or a humanoid version of the knotted hair that gathers in a shower drain than any earthly creature. His gaping mouth is completely void of any discernible teeth—more a bill than a normal jaw—but his close-set eyes imply that he is some kind of apex predator. And oh, those eyes! They loll around his head like a drunk in an old cartoon from back when cartoons thought alcohol was a suitable source of comedy for children. Those wandering eyes will never meet your gaze. And you should never trust anyone who won't make eye contact.
But it's not just his eyes—was he born without a nose, or did he lose it in an illicit, Chinatown-inspired act of violence in his past? What unspeakable horrors lurk in the annals of Gritty's past? Where did he come from and how, by God, did he earn the trust of a professional hockey team enough to convince them to let him take to the ice in a packed stadium, armed with a gun that fires T-shirt projectiles?
"He claims that he's been around for a lot longer than we know it, and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time," the NHL's official Gritty bio reads, the ambiguity of the backstory already raising red flags. "A number of times he's been caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni machine, and unbeknown to most, his love of hot dogs has been inflating the Flyers Dollar Dog Night consumption totals for years."
All of this aside, actions speak louder than words. Gritty's well-timed pratfall may have won over America's hearts, but it also distracted from his next order of business: Literally shooting a guy in the back with a t-shirt cannon.
Gritty is a hot dog thief, first and foremost, and eats snow, which is just bizarre. Within 24 hours of having his own social media account, he's already tried to break the internet. He is also of indeterminate age, really might not be that good at skating, and isn't afraid to enact light violence on members of his own team. The lesson here is clear: Do not let Gritty's bouncing belly and grinning maw fool you. Never turn your back on him. He is not to be trusted.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.