Geico is running a very clever commercial; actually the first time I saw it I laughed out loud. It is that good in its simplicity. Like most things however, there is always more to the story, and valid points can be made to highlight just how far we have fallen as a race. The race of man that is.
A group of children are swimming in an above ground pool, playing that fun game ‘Marco Polo’ where one seeks others with eyes closed. A cute game where there is really no winner, just a time to giggle while splashing and swimming underwater.
The one with eyes closed says ‘Marco’ and the others say ‘Polo,’ and Marco tries to find and tag the voice. Once tagged, there is a new Marco, and the game continues until the laughter runs out, kids tire, or get bored.
So the commercial. Kids are swimming, one says ‘Marco,’ and wouldn’t you know, in the far side of the pool stands a charming bearded man with a hat and fully clothed, who says ‘Polo.’ The kids are oblivious to him, as if he does not exist, and he says, ‘hey, it’s me, Marco.’ They splash about saying ‘Marco,’ looking for one another, and the man says ‘Scuza, it’s me Marco!’
The video ends with an amusing comparison to car insurance, with the children happy in the water, not seeing the real ‘Marco,’ who is standing right in front of them, while he looks somewhat puzzled, as he tries to join in the games. As I said, a very clever advertisement.
Which brings me to this. In this generation of Ipads, Iphones, headphones, cellphones, there is a rather disturbing phenomenon that is much wilder than the spreading of poison ivy, but with more tragic implications.
Picture a woman in a hospital room, the reason for her being there does not matter, but she is alert and has all her wits. Her family is paying their respects as it were, with most of the siblings glued to their ‘devices,’ oblivious of Marco in the bed. A few are dancing the HokeyPokey without moving their legs.
They are ‘putting in their time,’ as a courtesy, but the games, the pics, the vids, the whatevers, are no doubt more important than a living, ailing human being a few feet away, who so desperately needs a few words spoken in care and comfort. But the device has become a thief of hearts, stealing the affection that belongs to the living and breathing.
The ‘patient’ silently watches while the family attends to more ‘important’ things, but the electronically addicted or device impaired have done their duty. They have showed up, and this is enough!
Really? Well, yes and no. From the point of view of the ‘patient,’ maybe it is enough. He/she understands the time it took to forgo other things, to battle traffic from afar, to cancel plans or obligations, to make an effort to just show up, even though few words are spoken.
Mom, Dad, Grandma in the bed understands, even though the devicer has chosen something else. Their presence is enough and respected! Yeah, maybe so, but who is really infirmed then, to choose paper or plastic over a breathing (and the breaths get less and less) member of humanity?
Hmmm. I wonder.
And as a bonus thought, the commercial reminds me of the atheist who cannot see the proof of what he seeks, standing a mere few feet from him. There is no evidence! Marco does not exist! Sure he does, open thine eyes.
So while the games are played in the pool, Marco is not angry, because he is wiser and he understands. I like Marco.