Former SFU mascot candidate grilled by hiring manager

The applicant shared their experience in a chilling narrative

McFogg in an office looking super serious. Outside there's a line of mascots waiting to be interviewed to be his replacement.
ILLUSTRATION: Dan Kinanti / The Peak

By: Izzy Cheung, Staff Writer

I sit down at the table, its surface cold against my trembling hands. The smooth papers rustle beneath my palms, my fingers pressing deep wrinkles into the material. I shouldn’t be nervous — I’ve gone over every scenario in my mind and prepared myself for any possibility. I’ve studied this for years, and I know that I’m qualified. But as I stare across the table, at the face that I know will be judging me more than I’ve ever been judged in my entire life, I know that my nerves are justified. 

His stare is sharp, laced with a façade of kind understanding, but clearly tormented deep under the surface. Those eyes have seen horrors over the years that no one could speak to but him. It’s ever-so indicative of the immense pressure that comes with a position like his. 

He watches me, gently tipping his red cap as if attempting to say hello. It’s a gesture that welcomes and threatens me: “You’re permitted here, but only if I like what you have to say.Actions like these are only the tip of his commendable iceberg. 

As we sit in silence, his eyes dart from my face to the sheets of paper that are now laid out on the table. A headshot of my face sits in the corner of the page, along with a blurb about my life and some of my greatest accomplishments. He seems to gloss over all of those, instead searching for different information. 

“So,” he finally speaks, his voice gruff and tinted with a Scottish lilt, “You’re looking to replace?” 

“Absolutely not, sir,” I correct him, shifting my hands beneath the table so he can’t see how much they’re trembling. “No one could replace you. I’m only hoping to bring my talents to the community in the same way that you do. I would never regard myself as your replacement.” 

His thick brown eyebrows furrow, matching the downward curl of his moustache. “How do you think you can serve this community when you don’t want to replace me?” 

“Nobody wants to take your place,” I plead. “We all respect you so much. There’s no way we would be able to meet your standards—” 

“If you claim to not be able to meet my standards, then you shouldn’t even be here,” he cuts me off abruptly. “I know you have the potential. I know you have the talent. But if YOU don’t even think you can take my place, nor can you properly show me that’s the case, then I don’t see why you’d even bother trying to come here in the first place.” 

Dread seeps through my skin. “Mr. McFogg, please—” 

He shakes his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. “None of you candidates take this position seriously enough. All of you walk in here with your tails tucked between your legs in fear of the fact that I’m going to yell at you. Why do you think it’s been so long since I retired? Why do you think no one has taken my place since then?” 

McFogg flings his arms out suddenly, and my chair screeches against the floor as I jolt myself backwards in anticipation. “I was enjoying my much needed time off before I was called back to help find my replacement.” He rants, his voice now at the pitch of a yell. “This school, it’s like a ball that I’ve been chained to for years, and I can’t be set free until I know that the community is taken care of. If you cower when I yell at you, I know you’ll never be able to handle the pressure that comes with this position. I need the best replacement possible, and I sure know that it isn’t you.” 

I can’t take any more of it. The chair crashes to the ground in a heap as I stand up, the form of McFogg blurring through the tears in my eyes. I hear him grunt a gruff “good riddance,” before I take off, pushing through the door and past the rest of the mascot-hopefuls who will also inevitably have their dreams crushed the minute they sit down in front of the dog. 

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