OPINION COLUMNS

Conversation with a famous spokesreptile

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, August 30, 2014

Whoa! I didn’t expect to see you in my shower!

Well, mate, that makes two of us. I was, hmm, just thinking you might need to, uh, check your, ah … auto insurance! That’s right! Did you know 15 minutes …

Oh, knock it off. You’re not here to sell me insurance.

OK, guv’na, you got me. I’m in a bit of a sticky wicket. Some’ow I find myself inside your lovely ‘ome. It’s bloody ‘ot outside, y’know? I was thirsty and this cool place beckoned, so I slipped in through a crack.

A crack?

Oh, yeah. There’s plenty of ‘em. I don’t say this in a critical way, but your ‘ome is not as, uh, tight as you might think. We tiny creatures can easily get in.

Bob Buckel

Bob Buckel

I know. We have our unwanted visitors out ‘ere, uh, here, in the country. You’re actually a much pleasanter surprise than a scorpion or a snake.

Why, thanks! You’re not bad yourself …

Don’t look!

Of course. But if you would, please, sir … a towel.

Certainly. But it is my shower.

Absolutely. So, uh … what do you (gulp!) plan to do with me?

Don’t worry. I’m a catch-and-release guy. Your odds for survival are much better in the garden than in the shower. The lady of the house might get violent if she found you – and I’m sure you would find her screams quite off-putting.

Understood, and appreciated. I must say, though, your shower is very inviting. These droplets of water – given my size, it’s like hoisting a pint at the pub!

Well, the sprinklers outside run every other day.

That’s fine. I can adapt to all kinds of environments. I must say, though, since my cousin Marty got that job with GEICO, we geckos expect better treatment.

Wait, the GEICO gecko is your cousin?

Well, actually, all geckos are cousins, sir. But yeah, ‘e is. Marty’s got a great gig – corporate jets, fancy food, five-star ‘otels, a starlet on each arm – while the rest of us are out ‘ere crawlin’ into ‘ouses, dodgin’ shoes. There are some bitter feelings in the gecko community. Me? I’m ‘appy for ‘im. Glad to see a local lizard make good.

Let me ask you about the accent – ’cause it’s not Australian. It’s Cockney, right? From London? That’s not a gecko thing, is it?

Oh, no sir. Marty’s totally doin’ a bit, trying to class up the image. He’s actually from Houston. GEICO went gecko in ’99 when the Screen Actors Guild went on strike and they couldn’t use ‘umans in their ads. They did an animated gecko and used Kelsey Grammer’s voice – you know, the guy from “Frasier.”

Yes, I’m familiar.

They used a couple of other voice blokes before they found Marty. His ratings went through the roof, so they don’t need animation or a voiceover anymore.

Wait… you’re telling me Marty’s real?

Of course ‘e is! He’s actually got a pretty impressive resume, for a lizard. He’s ‘ad classical training, done a few roles off-Broadway – got a Tony nomination for “Cats.” Now look at ‘im – gettin’ paid in Berkshire-‘athaway stock, and Warren Buffet brags about ‘im to the share’olders!

So you’re telling me the GEICO gecko is a real gecko – your cousin Marty – who walks around on his hind feet, talks, and pitches auto insurance? Do you really expect me to believe that?

Well, we are ‘aving this conversation, ain’t we, sir? Would you rather find Maxwell the pig in your shower? Or that annoying duck who only knows one word? Because I can make one phone call …

Point taken. Here, ‘op in me shaving mug and let’s get you outside.

Thanks. And, uh – hold onto that towel, sir.

Right … wait, you’ve got a phone?

Bob Buckel is editorial director of the Messenger.

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