Skip to content →

Lightning Bolt

The casting call did not go as planned.  No one assumed I was an actress.  Total disappointment. Well, it wasn’t a total disappointment of course. It was fun to watch a few of the auditions.  Some people have real talent! Some not so much.

In other news, I met someone who had not heard of The Onion.  It was a pretty interesting experience. I should tell you what happened in detail.

First, he sent an email with a link to a youtube clip of Usain Bolt’s impressive run.  Subj: Motivating.  He is a fast runner, so I can understand why he found the video motivating.

Personally, running baffles me.  My favorite passage on running is from Ian McEwan’s short story “Homemade.”  The speaker shares his thoughts on watching people run in a track meet:

I found especially interesting those who came after the first fifty or so, running harder than any of the other contestants and competing demoniacally among themselves for the hundred and thirteenth place in the field.  I watched them stumble up the tunnel of flags, clawing at their throats, retching, flailing their arms and falling to the grass, convinced that I had before me here a vision of human futility.  (19)

Anyway, after Usain Bolt’s amazing run, which I can appreciate for its ability to challenge human boundaries, The Onion wrote an article about a lazy Nike ad executive who would pitch a bunch of ideas for an ad campaign themed around Bolt’s speed.  I thought the article was funny and relevant, so I responded to the original email with a link to the piece.

The next day we had an awkward conversation about it.

Him: You sent me an article about how Nike is going to do an advertising campaign around how fast Usain Bolt is.

Me: Yes.

Him: I didn’t understand why you sent that.

Me: Um, I uh, thought it was really funny.  Because, it’s a very obvious thing for them to do, you know, build an ad campaign about how fast he is.

Him: The article said they would show him being really fast.  He is really fast, isn’t he?

Me: Yes, it was about how a lazy ad executive did not prepare and was just talking about ways to demonstrate how fast he is, through metaphors and parallel imagery, like him racing against other fast things, like a cheetah, or train, or high-speed internet.

Him: (nod)

Me: The Onion is a satire paper.

Him: Oh I didn’t know that.

Me: Right, um, so it didn’t really happen.  It was just being funny.  (pause) I…I thought it was funny.

Him: Okay.

So basically here’s what he thought was happening:

Him: Look at how fast Usain Bolt was able to run. It’s truly inspiring how hard work can help you accomplish great things.

Me: Nike is planning to do a campaign around Bolt’s recent run.  They have lots of ideas.  Their theme will be how fast he is.

Him: Way to go Captain Obvious.

Published in Thoughtful Reflection


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *