I was listening to one of my new favorite artists today, Macklemore.
I love this song – it’s kinda raw and very sad. All about consumerism and how people actually die for something like shoes. So I started thinking about Mike. Michael Jordan, that is. And how “I wanna be like Mike” was such a brilliant marketing campaign.
“I Wanna Be Like Mike, is one of the most memorable marketing slogans of all time, it was one of the first of thousands of ad campaigns to utilize the worlds adoration of a sports icon to sell product. It’s easy to forget that before Michael Jordan was marketed as the best basketball player of all time, athletes were not marketed as teen idols, they were simply athletes…” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1413533/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl)
But then I got a little mad.
Why have we allowed this? Why did I buy into it? Why do we glorify the physical prowess of kids in their twenties? Why do we spend so much time marveling at people’s physical giftedness? I’m not saying it isn’t awesome. I’m not saying it isn’t amazing to watch people DO what they are good at. It is. And we should enjoy that, as long as they do.
But putting people on a pedestal. Telling our kids “THAT’S who to be like” What is that? Why do we set ourselves up for failure? It’s not about dreaming big. NO amount of dreaming has gotten anyone else NEAR that (that I know of, and if someone has, how many someones?) and they have their own physical prowess on their side. What about my skinny kid with no talent? (sorry boys, that was just an example) What about my girls? IS that who they are supposed to want to be with? Where are they going to find THAT?
…. Well, once I calmed down I started thinking, more. I started thinking about Mike. Where is he now? It seems he sells underwear now. I don’t mean that in any sort of negative way. I think he is probably a pretty smart guy and is making money in ways he wants. That’s cool.
What I started thinking was, “I wonder what he has learned” “I wonder what he’s like.” I realize that I am far more interested in the person than their abilities. And I started thinking about the people who I admire with great physical capabilities. I realized that I am MOST excited about knowing them when they are forty… or fifty. What will they have learned? What did they do with their lives?
Now that I am Fifty-one I realize I don’t wanna be like Mike. I wanna be like me. I wanna know how you are like you. I wanna know YOU.
Thanks for listening.