Mike the Tiger has to be one of the most beloved mainstays on campus. Amid every corner of campus, every dormitory and every classroom — from the pristine corridors of Patrick F. Taylor to the crumbling basements of Allen Hall — Mike is held on a platform high above everything else.
Yeah, Mike is kind of a big deal around here. He brings joy to our stress-filled college lives.
Many of us can attest to the fact that Mike is a very good listener. He sits there and listens to students vent about everything going on in their lives. If you are reading this and have cheated on your significant other, Mike probably knows about it. Professors who are failing half of their students: Mike has heard all about your inability to teach.
The best part about it is he never leaves until you say goodbye. In the kingdom of his habitat, all are welcome.
We come to lay our burdens on him, but we never ask how he is doing.
Do we know if Mike is truly happy? Does he enjoy the food that he is given and are the caretakers nice to him? There are so many questions we neglect to ask him.
Since I am not fluent in tiger and cannot interview him personally, I will dive into the environment that Mike is in and determine whether it is sufficient for his needs.
His habitat costs a grand total of $3.7 million dollars and takes up a whopping 15,000 square feet. It has a nice little stream and waterfall that he can go swimming in, and there’s plenty of places for him to bask in the sun and take naps between his therapy sessions.
We put a lot of effort into his habitat and I am sure that he loves all of the accommodations. Heck, he doesn’t even have to pay rent!
But with all of that space, sometimes it can get lonely without other companions of the same species. We all know how prolonged periods of isolation can affect us mentally. Is it the same for tigers? Would Mike benefit from the occasional visit from a female companion?
The truth is, I don’t know. I'm an opinion columnist, not a wildlife expert. But I do know, from my brief search of the web, that tigers are solitary animals. They keep their own territory, and they like playing in the water.
Mike has all of this, so in theory, he should be happy — right? This column isn't a PETA-sponsored ploy to get Mike removed from campus. In all honesty, he’s probably living better than most of us.
I truly believe he is somewhat happy. I believe that in some capacity he understands how much people love him. The crowds that gather around his habitat daily, and the smiles on their faces, show that love and awe.
Sometimes, no matter how many people we have in our lives that love us, we aren’t happy. We have bad days — and that is okay. A reminder that people care goes a long way to fix those days. A simple “How are you doing?” holds more power than all the infinity stones put together.
Remember these things the next time you go visit Mike. It may be very likely that he won’t understand a word you are saying, but it’s the thought that counts.
Anthony is a 21-year-old English major from Opelousas.