What was the ad?
Take a look:
Now, to be sure, there is a wheelchair user in this video, but it looked a bit like he wandered in on set, it's not clear what amazing act of fitness he's performing, but he is there.
At the end, after watching all these extremely fit people, who purportedly are all better leaders, better parents, better, um, everything, we have learned that fitness is the primary characteristic which results an a person being good at anything. OK, that's the kind of shit you expect from this kind of advertising. All of this would have flowed over me but that last line, shit that last line, that's the kicker.
"Be more human."
The fitter you are, the more human you are.
The stronger you are, the more human you are.
Humanity can be measured, of course, because if there is a 'more human' there is also a 'less human.' If extreme fitness, because lets admit that the people in this film don't represent even most people who go to gyms, leads to the ultimate claim of full humanity then those who fall short aren't fully, completely and equally human.
The new Master race isn't blond and blue eyed. No the master race is comprised of thin, strong, fit people who are better workers, better parents (!), better leaders.
Yep, that's what we need, more cultural messages that make it clear that there are those worthy and those unworthy. Never has 'fit' and 'unfit' been more clearly designated.
So when I'm treated like shit by one of these new gods of humanity, I'm simply getting what I deserve.
I am less.
They are more.
The scale is easy.
A son who, after an accident, gets up out of his wheelchair and walks rises into humanity and love and acceptance.
A son who, after an accident, has a permanent disability stays seated and sinks into the less that human status.
Forgive me but I don't think humanity can be measured that way.
I dare to suggest that there are times when I do, forgive me for contradicting Reebok, feel fully human and fully alive. Completely, entirely, human. This does not come when I've done my exercise routine. It comes when I've fought back the urge to rush on but instead took a moment to be kind. It comes when I have to stay the impulse to rush and instead let gentleness overtake my hand. It's comes when I'm called to be fully human and I respond.
Because fully human isn't something you achieve.
It's what you are called to be.
Being fully human isn't measured by the weights you lift in a gym but by the weight you lift off another's shoulders. Thing is, that builds strength too - just not the kind that will ever be in a Reeboks ad.
Be more human.