I've been totally obsessed with the primaries. Last night, from our bed, my husband, John, watched the Super Bowl with his headsets on. I sat next to him with my headsets on watching the Obama rally at UCLA on my laptop, tearing up when Caroline Kennedy introduced Maria Shriver. (I'm not a Shriver fan, per se, but loved it that she was campaigning for Obama while her husband stumped for McCain. How do they do it?)
Over the years, during the commercials of football games, John has done his best to pique my interest in the sport by telling me the meta stories about the teams, the players and coaches -- the dramatic arcs of their careers and lives. Going into yesterday's game, I knew enough to realize how amazing it was that the Patriots had won every game of the season -- a feat not accomplished since 1972. Certainly the Patriots were destined to win. While my interest in football is almost non-existent, I could tell from John's reactions that it was becoming an exciting game. I couldn't help but check in every once in a while.
While going back and forth from my laptop to our old-school 27" screen, I was struck by the similarities of the two races....one for the title and one for the presidential nomination. Senator Clinton was The Patriots. A life-long patriot she's worked her ass off this primary season and for the past 35 years just as the owner of the Patriots has devoted himself to creating a winning team for the past 30. (I caught some of the "Behind the Patriots") Early on she emerged as the frontrunner. Sure, people hate her. But plenty of football fans hate the Patriots. Still, they are an amazing team and everyone thinks they are going to win. The odds tell us that: 18 to 1! The polls tell us that: Clinton is over 20 points ahead!
And then here comes Eli Manning. Living in the shadow of this older brother Peyton for his whole life. Said not to be as great or as experienced. And he wins it against all odds. And at a younger age than his brother. He proved himself. Once and for all.
Obama is the Giants. A true Giant who believes in himself and most importantly in his team. Us. In a way that Hillary doesn't. She doesn't inspire us, Americans that have become complacent and apathetic in the face of powerful, deceitful, remorseless neocons. Of course Manning couldn't do it without Plaxico, without the coaches, the team, the fans. Everybody rose to the occasion. And now millions of Obama fans are too. Because he is an inspiration!
A no-brainer game became a nail biter...just like this campaign. Even though I do believe in the power of the human spirit, it never stops shocking me that we CAN beat such extraordinary odds. It's a belief in ourselves. Plaxico Burress called it before the game. "We will win," he audaciously told the world.
While the game was on, I got an e-mail that the latest Geico Caveman Commercial was running during the Super Bowl in markets across the country -- just not in Los Angeles -- but that I could already check it out on Youtube. I cared because my husband John is one of the Geico cavemen. John is my Giants. My Obama. He is to me, a constant reminder that Yes We Can.
On our very first date, John, a broke actor substitute teaching in South Central Los Angeles, lamented that he'd never make money or have a career doing the one thing he was truly good at: improvising. At that point, I'd seen him perform in improv shows for five years and knew he was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I just didn't have any interest in dating a long-haired drug addict. But a long story of depression, drugs, alcohol, therapy, couples therapy and AA later not only has my husband made some money doing what he does best, he's living his dream doing it.
And no, being a Geico Caveman isn't his dream. But the campaign confirmed that yes, he can make a living improvising. That line "It's my mother, I'll put her on speakerphone." Improvised. That line from the very first caveman commercial where he's an outraged boom operator and says "Not cool." Improvised. The party scene where he says, "Tina's here, we're getting back together." Improvised.
Those three days of working on those commercials have made him more money this year than working for nine months 16 hours a day co-creating, co-writing and starring in his own TV show (albeit a late night cable series). The show? ENTIRELY IMPROVISED.
Now, of course he would never take credit for the unbelievable success of the Geico caveman commercials, but he did play a part in it. I see him as Plaxico....taking the ball home. The commercials kept him going when all the odds were against him. "How will we pay the mortgage? Support our child? What day job do I have to get?" he'd ask, hitting the bottom, again.
The Geico ads said to him, YES YOU CAN. (Along with my constant belief in him.) Just as the outpouring of response by the American public has said to Obama YES WE CAN.
Twenty years of struggling to believe that YES HE CAN has led John to actually have is own show. His dream. The plug is that it's on TBS at 11pm on Tuesday nights. It's called 10 Items or Less. It's hilarious. (People say it's like The Office but spazzier.)
The Giants did. John did. And Obama will. He must! We must!
People can overcome the odds.
YES WE CAN.