I’ll be honest – faith has never held an important place in my life. Nothing against all the other religions of the world, but most of the big ones developed in the Middle East multiple millennia ago, and I can’t say any of them ever spoke to me. I had long ago resigned myself to a religion-free life.
But then, out of the blue, a spiritual awakening struck:
The Sickos Committee twitter account stated that this image came from running a picture of Oski through a machine learning algorithm, and I don’t doubt that fact. But that’s like explaining that a snowflake is crystallized water, that a star is primarily made of hydrogen and helium, that The Play featured five laterals. Banal facts that cannot even scratch the surface of true understanding.
No, this was not merely the work of a computer. This was God acting through our puny mortal tools, revealing Themself in a way that we can all understand and learn from. After exhaustive reflection and prayer, I reveal to you the results of my spiritual quest:
Each avatar of Oski represents a different reflection of Oski, who is all things to all people. Thus, each aspect of Oski acts in different realms, in different ways, while still reflecting Oski’s greater path.
Also God of: Invention, Creativity, Getting a B+ on an assignment you didn’t start until the last day
Seen working through: Julia Morgan, every Nobel Prize parking spot
Primary site of worship: Sather Gate
Not a symbol of literal motherhood, Mother Oski is instead a symbol of Cal’s ethos: Fiat Lux, and a commitment to the public good. A particularly strong influence on every student who is the first in their family to attend college, Mother Oski is the Eureka in us all.
Also God of: History, Bureaucracy
Seen working through: Glenn Seaborg, Mario Savio
Primary site of worship: Sproul Hall
Gone bald with age and stress, Father Oski has seen it all, good and bad. Father Oski was there when Cal was founded, was there when MLK spoke on Sproul, was there when Reagan sent in the national guard to gas protesters. As a result, Father Oski has learned how to weather pain and disappointment. The avatar of the Bear that will not quit, the Bear that will not die.
Oski of Pleasure
Also God of: Summer, Tailgates
Seen working through: Marshawn Lynch
Primary site of worship: Every bar on South Side
The Oski who discovered that
alcohol erm, liquid can be directly ingested through the eye, Oski of Pleasure lives in all of us in moments of joy. True, their influence can lead to excess, whether literal (too much booze) or hopeful (one Cal football win means that surely there will be future Cal football wins). But Oski of Pleasure has taught us a critical truth: take joy when you hit the highs of life, because the lows will come in time.
Oski or Shame
Also God of: Hangovers, procrastination
Seen working through: Every football season since 1959
Primary site of worship: Every fraternity, sorority, and co-op
The necessary counterweight to the Oski of Pleasure, the Oski of Shame is there when you blew a test that you didn’t study for, there when you wake up bleary-eyed on Sunday morning, there when Sonny Dykes calls a fake point. Oski of Shame isn’t mad, just disappointed.
Oski or Nature
Also God of: Forest management
Seen working through: Every Bear that tears into a car at Yosemite to eat a pop tart
Primary site of worship: VLSB, UC Botanical Gardens
A chaos agent acting as a reminder that life cannot be planned or contained, the Oski of Nature will foil your plans if you do not embrace them. But if you instead learn to flow with the chaos of nature, Hank the Tank will bless you and instead ransack the home of your enemy†
Oski of Wisdom
Also God of: Graduation
Seen working through: every time a student successfully navigates Cal bureaucracy to add or drop a class, pay tuition, secure financial aid, or otherwise survive college
Primary site of worship: Doe Library
Perhaps the most active Oski, the Oski of Wisdom is constantly working in our world. Whether it’s learning how to calculate an integral to pass a class, learning how to find the right administrator in Sproul Plaza to get your transcript, or learning how to sneak contraband past security at Memorial Stadium, the Oski of Wisdom helps you from birth to death .
Oracle of Oski
Also God of: Fate, Future, Nihilism
Seen working through: Tiger Woods
Primary site of worship: Dwinelle Hall
Many go to the Oracle of Oski for answers, but most fail to find the elisuve Oracle and those who do rarely receive the answers they seek. Speaking in Koan or verse (when speaking at all), the Oracle knows all, yet reveals little.
Oski of Death
Also God of: Vengeance
Seen working through: John Elway, Every final you ever took
Primary site of worship: Evans Hall
With a mask made out of pieces taken off enemies, Oski of Death teaches that all things end, and that to appreciate the journey you must appreciate the end. The wise learn to accept this. The unwise whine about how the refs ruined his senior season for the rest of time.
Oski or Oskis
Also God of: Everything
Seen working through: all of Bear Territory
Primary site of worship: Memorial Stadium
Our earthly representative, made up of all eight aspects of Oski-dom as described above. Made devinely real in 1941, as a living reminder to follow him and all of Oski’s teachings.