Make It Happen, Or When Keanu Reeves Sounds a Marshaling Cry


This is the way the Super Bowl ended. Not with a bang but a whimper. (Okay. It really wasn't that bad, although the commentary can be described in one word: snore. I just wanted to use the T.S. Eliot allusion.) 

That being said, one thing did leave an indelible mark. Squarespace’s commercial. 

There are several reasons for this. 

The first is that I use Squarespace for this very website, so it’s on my radar. Last year in January, I didn't have a single idea on how to approach starting a blog. That's where Squarespace came in; without them, Whiskers On Kittens and all the writing I've accomplished would not have happened. I have had nothing but the best interactions with their staff. When I had several issues in the set-up, they were responsive and helpful and have continued to be that way for the last year. I would recommend Squarespace to anyone and everyone who wants to start their own website. 

The second reason I liked this ad is Keanu Reeves. He’s one of my favorite actors. And, he happens to be performing his own stunt, standing atop the KRGT-1, the first bike produced by ARCH motorcycles, a joint venture by Gard Hollinger and Keanu Reeves (who has been a motorcycle enthusiast- one could say obsessive- for decades). 

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, this commercial resonates with me. The verbiage (from the Will Powers' song, Adventures in Success)is fantastic. Keanu speaks: 

You are an important person
A unique creature
There has never been anyone just like you and never will be
The power to do anything you can imagine is within you
When you discover your real self
Make it happen

Now, if you’ve been reading Whiskers for a while, you’ll understand how an advertisement like this can really push my buttons. In today’s chronically negative society, it is tantamount in importance to maintain positive exhortations, especially about oneself. 

You Are An Important Person

Let’s start there, shall we? Important, according to the OED, is defined as something that is of great consequence or significance; having a serious or significant effect or influence; consequential, weighty, momentous. Each one of you, dear readers, has a serious and significant influence. What trips so many of us up, myself included, is looking at influence as equivalent to notoriety or fame. You do not need to be famous in order to have impact and influence. As I wrote in The Banner Over Us post:

I cannot walk out your journey. My steps will never be your steps. Therefore, my impact will never be your impact. But, know this, dear readers, you have impact, you have purpose, you have something to give that no one in your realm of influence can give.

A Unique Creature 

You are one of a kind. Uncommon. You are a remarkable person because there’s no one like you (in writing that, I have the Scorpion song playing in my mind). You are unrivaled.

There Has Never Been Anyone Just Like You And Never Will Be

Don’t trust me. Take the Doctor’s* word for it: Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.

The Power To Do Anything You Can Imagine Is Within You

I’ve discussed this very theme at length in my post No Back-Up Plans Allowed, so I won’t go into expansive detail on it here. However, I will leave you with this Einstein quote, because who can argue effectively with such a scientific genius? (I am well aware that Niels Bohr did just that, but humor me, okay.)

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.
— Albert Einstein

When You Discover Your Real Self

Ah, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare would say. This is the most important part, though. In order to achieve everything we have imagined for ourselves, we must first know who we are. Gnōthi seauton. This Greek transliteration means Know Thyself. The aphorism was inscribed in the portico at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. The philosopher Socrates (not pronounced So-crates, as you Ted “Theodore” Logan fans out there might assume) expounded on this maxim at his trial by saying, The unexamined life is not worth living. Think about that. Socrates stood before an Athenian tribunal of 500 purportedly pious men, defending his unending and unerring quest for wisdom above all else, and said that he would rather die than live a life in which he did not strive for a deeper understanding of himself through continual inquiry. His subsequent death by hemlock because he refused to compromise on this only showcases the pre-eminence in which he held the examined life. Without striving to know and understand ourselves, Socrates argued, life has no meaning. 

Dolly Parton says it like this: “Know who you are and do it on purpose.”  (Tidbit here: Keanu Reeves actually dressed up as Dolly Parton for Halloween one year; he wore one of the costumes his mother made for her, though not the heels. I believe he wore Converse sneakers.)

I say it like this: Find out your special gift, that thing you were purposed for from your mother’s womb, and be intentional about stepping into it and walking it out. It will touch the lives of those around you and in turn touch the lives of people around them. Be the little pebble that starts the first ripple.

Make It Happen

Now this, dear readers, is the marshaling cry. Go out and make it happen. Just do it. And in the doing, you will soar to new heights, just like Keanu does when he takes to the sky at the end. 

But how? I’ll just quote Morpheus from The Matrix:

You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.

So, what’s not to love about an advertisement that touts such truths. I think the only thing I would have changed was the music. However, as the music belongs to the song from which the lyrics Keanu is reciting come, I fully understand why the music is as it is. It's just that the KRGT-1 growls. I would have loved to hear the throatiness of this bike at full throttle more than just at the end. I like how Ann Donahue said it in The Red Bulletin, “It’s a motorcycle in the key of badass.” 

Thank you, Keanu, for this fabulous ad. It’s deep. It’s cool. It’s genteel. To quote Moby Dick:

But that was certainly very coolly done by him, and everyone knows that in most people’s estimation, to do anything coolly is to do it genteelly.

Thank you, Squarespace, for making this ad happen in the first place. When the idea to start Whiskers On Kittens, a blog for a few of my favorite things, came to me, I was at a complete loss where to begin. Squarespace provided the infrastructure necessary to launch and host my domain in the sophisticated, whimsical, and professional way I wanted it to be. A plethora of thanks for that. I guess you could say you helped me make it happen.

What was your favorite ad during the Super Bowl? Or, better yet, what’s one of your favorite ads? 

*Bonus: From the first line, I was hooked with this ad. Totally heard Henry David Thoreau in it: I went to the woods to live deliberately... And, classic Keanu, he doesn't drop the mic (that would be too mundane); he drops the Mac. Enjoy! 

*That would be the doctor as in Dr. Seuss (see post here). 

P.S. Special shout out to Geoffrey for helping me remember my philosophy. It doesn’t seem so long ago, but my collegiate days are quite a ways back there. I’ve read Socrates, it’s true, but your expertise is much appreciated. Thank you.