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Shell Shocked: The prodigal gecko

March 15, 2017
By Art Stevens , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

It was the return of the prodigal gecko. Yes, the one that was plucked from the swamps of Sanibel and made into a major TV star - the Geico gecko. The Geico gecko used to hang out by my pool and audition for me. He knew then that his fate would take him elsewhere.

He told me he wanted to find his way out of the gecko ghetto and make something of himself. His brothers and sisters couldn't understand why he wanted to learn English. He practiced every opportunity he had. I'd be sitting on a lounge chair by the pool and hear this faint voice warbling beneath me: "To be or not to be, that is the question."

At first I thought I had left my iPad on but when I looked down I saw a tiny gecko smiling up at me. "Is that really you speaking English? But it's impossible."

The gecko replied: "Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and soul into it. I've been studying the way you speak and think I can do it. I want to be an actor and I won't let my scaly skin interfere."

I worked with the gecko some more and got him to the point where he felt comfortable speaking English in front of people. I brought some of my friends over and we were in awe when the gecko recited the Gettysburg address.

They urged me to try to get the gecko a speaking part in TV commercials. So I went to Budweiser and urged them to consider using the gecko as one of their horses. They declined.

I brought him to Coca Cola to use him in a "We are the world" 30 second spot. They declined.

I brought him to Aflax and urged them to consider the gecko to be a spokesperson for their insurance commercials. They declined too because they were trying out a duck for the same part. But one of the ad agency creative directors whispered to me that Geico was looking for an unusual spokesperson.

So I took him to Geico. It was there that the planets and stars aligned. The Geico people fell in love with our little Sanibel gecko and he got the part. The Geico gecko is now world renowned and is more recognizable than even Donald Trump.

But he doesn't forget his humble beginnings. He's coming to Sanibel soon for a ticker tape parade. He's also doing a benefit for "Ding" Darling where he still has many friends. As for me, I take it all in stride. It's always fun to have friends in high places.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.



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