BillikenEditor's Note: This column is not intended to belittle, besmirch, or impugn the honor of Saint Louis University or its mascot. This is solely intended as a tribute. What I'm saying is, let's keep the angry mob stuff to a minimum. As always, scroll over content underlined in red for additional commentary.

The Saint Louis University Men’s Basketball team won their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament yesterday. Their victory prompted thousands of curious fans to rush to the interwebs and google SLU's mascot, the Billiken. What is a Billiken exactly? No one really knows, so last night we put our highly unpaid research staff to work. They poured over hundreds of dusty tomes, ancient scrolls, and Encarta CD-ROMs trying to find the answer. But, as so often happens with the esoteric research projects we give them, our little research nerdlings came up with a bevy of possible answers. Here are our favorites.

A Billiken Is…

1. A smiling little devil-Buddha which just so happens to be Catholic.
2. The pronunciation of “billy club” after being struck in the head by a billy club.
3. The original Beanie Baby.
4. What a sleepy Pope counts in lieu of sheep.
5. The patron saint of short-sellers, Pai Gow dealers, and lobbyists.

6. The adorable couple name we’ll use if Mattel ever decides to give Ken a boyfriend named William.
7. An original character created by a woman who lived in a time when heroin was readily prescribed in liquid form.
8. The long-time alien inhabitants of St. Louis' Gateway Arch.
9. A giant bush monster.
Billiken_bush
10. The Night’s Watch’s secret weapon against a White Walker invasion.

11. What Genie from Aladdin looked like as a baby.
12. The official mascot of the Royal Order of Jesters.
13. The author of The Secret.
14. What sits on your shoulder when the angel or devil is on a smoke break.
15. Something from a Guillermo Del Toro fever dream.

The truth.

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