[Obligatory April Fool’s story.]
In the beginning, he was WKTV’s mascot, always cheerful and unassuming. He often stayed into the wee hours of the night after everyone else had gone home. For months, we marveled at his always-sunny, can-do attitude, which is no mean feat in today’s dangerously depressing world. No matter what, Nigel was consistent in his utterances and deeds.
Lesser folk would have run chittering from the building, but Nigel put up with the station’s less-than-ideal working conditions like a champ. Our station director’s temper tantrums didn’t faze Nigel. He tolerated the bizarre antics of our managing editor. Even the newest CJ reporter’s grammar Nazi tirades didn’t crack him.
Ironically, it was a well-deserved promotion that did him in.
In his capacity as station mascot, Nigel thrived and excelled. His attendance was exemplary. When things got crazy around here, his easy-going manner and uplifting chirps kept the station on course. And he never got in anyone’s way.
Then we began taking him for granted. As often happens with mild-mannered folk in the corporate realm, Nigel was overlooked for plum assignments. He seemed happy enough. His chirps seemed genuine. But at WKTV, we do not stand for the status quo. We celebrate each team member’s strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses.
I believe it was on a Wednesday we first realized that Nigel’s talents were being wasted in such a limited role. The community needed to know about him, about what he stood for, about his very existence. Nigel needed to be celebrated and exalted for his simplicity and love for nature. It was sure to be a win-win.
And so we promoted him to broadcasting associate.
There is always a learning curve with any new position, and Nigel put up a brave front. He appeared to soak up new knowledge like a sponge, and we coached him in his new role. But it soon became apparent that Nigel, for all of his seemingly extroverted traits, was an introvert at heart. In his new, highly visible role, Nigel faltered. He couldn’t bring himself to attend meetings. I remember seeing him once by a pipe close to the window, but when I tried to talk to him, he quickly escaped down a tiny black hole.
No amount of persuasion could entice Nigel to contribute to our on-air broadcasts. He began wandering around the office, unseen. But we heard him. He chirped incessantly.
In any other situation, one might have considered Nigel mentally ill, but we knew better. Nigel was a unique individual, and at WKTV, we celebrate diversity. However, when someone’s happiness is at stake, swift action is required.
And so Nigel returned to the position where he was happiest, as our mascot. Two days later, he disappeared.
We believe a wolf spider sealed poor Nigel’s fate.
Click here to listen to an interview with Nigel. (Before he went missing.)
Post-script: Nigel was real. He was the office cricket.