Clark the Cub

Clark, the new Cubs mascot, can expect to get hit, a lot, in this job. (Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune / January 16, 2014)

Contrary to popular belief, the Cubs' official mascot in 2014 won't be a drunk 21-year-old bleacher bro from Schaumburg as it has been unofficially seemingly forever.

Late Thursday afternoon, the team put word out that it's looking for someone to fill Clark the Cub's cartoonishly large head for the upcoming season. As anyone who has ever been a professional mascot will tell you, the wearer of the costume will have a tall order ahead of him or her: Entertain the fans without getting in their way. 

In fact, Clark of the future, my first two jobs after finishing a master'a degree were as a professional mascot, including a two-plus season stint as a Brewers racing sausage. So what can you expect in your new job?

1. You're going to get hit--a lot. You will get hit by adults, by children, by other mascots (Benny the Bull almost broke my jaw during a mascot basketball game once). People see a grown adult wearing a costume and for some reason they want to beat the crap out of it. Wear protection, if you can, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

2. You are going to smell. Bad. There is nothing that smells worse than a mascot costume after running around in it for a couple of hours on a 95-degree day with 100 percent humidity. Get used to holding your breath and buying dryer sheets and Febreze in bulk because you are going to need them.

3. Half the people you meet are going to love you. The rest will be terrified. Don't take it personally, but getting surprised by a giant bear, even if it is just a person in costume, isn't for everyone.

4. And the last thing: Do not speak. Or let anyone see you out of costume. Ever. There are really only two rules to being a mascot, and those are it. Dance around, learn to communicate nonverbally and entertain the masses because that's what you get paid to do.

But above all else, keep up the illusion that you really are a giant friendly bear cub.

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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