By now I’m sure you have heard all about the rather ugly incident concerning my temporarily fallen idol, Mr. Jerry Lewis during the eighteenth hour of his Labor Day MDA Telethon. I hear his publicity team was working overtime on spin control and there was even some loose talk about relieving the funny man of his hosting duties. Now, I don’t agree with what he said, but I think we can all agree he was at least attempting to be humorous. I don’t know about you, but after eighteen hours, I’m not always at my best and he’s no Spring chicken. Not that age is an excuse. Or is it?
We let a lot of behaviors slide because of age, don’t we? Take crying, for example. As a man, I don’t often cry (at least not in public), but as a little boy I shed my fair share of tears over trivialities such as skinned knees and not getting the prize from the bottom of the cereal box before my brother. These days, I have to reserve my tears for more important matters like the birth of my children or the end of baseball season. My son is still at an age where he can cry if Spongebob Squarepants is a rerun. Today he came home from school in hysterics. After checking him carefully for broken bones and skinned appendages, I discovered that the source of his angst was… lunch. Specifically the Glaucoma Foundation Alpine Lunch Cooler his mother packed his in. Apparently, he took quite a razzing from the other first graders who all proudly sported Spiderman and Fantastic Four lunch boxes. My son tried to explain branding to his classmates, but they were unable to grasp that their superhero lunch boxes were promotional items…just like his insulated lunch bag imprinted with a giant eyeball. They were unimpressed by the PEVA lining and wide zippered opening and scoffed at its ability to hold a twenty-ounce bottle.
As I hugged my boy and wiped his tears, I couldn’t help but shed a few of my own—he gets it…he really gets it! I took him to the store and bought him a Simpsons lunch box, un-insulated, and matching thermos, which proves, once again, that effective marketing can solve most problems in life. Just ask Jerry. He issued a well-written apology and raised 63.8 million for a good cause, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere.