The Gorilla and I

11:08 AM, Jun 12, 2011   |    comments
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Two Minute Car Wash, Piedmont Rd., Atlanta

Chewing through a cheeseburger at Grindhouse, I beheld for the umpteenth time the mechanical gorilla that greets motorists next door at the Two-Minute Car Wash, and I had an epiphany of sorts.

That guy and I have a lot in common.  Here are five things.

The blank expression.  The gorilla consistently wears the same freakish, semi-astonished, semi-crazed look on a daily basis.  TV reporters frequently wear the same look, betraying very little real emotion.  We are allowed some emotional license.  We can project outrage or empathy occasionally.  Sometimes we fake some satisfaction or humor.  But mostly, we look like the gorilla.

The mechanical movements.  Our similarities become especially evident when TV reporters are asked to perform during live shots or standups.  For further elaboration, see the attached video.

The wear and tear.  The more seniority I achieve, the whiter my hair gets.  The longer the gorilla stands out in the sun alongside Piedmont Road, the greener his hair gets.  The manager at the Two-Minute Car Wash says he spray paints the gorilla's hair black periodically.  TV reporters have similar weapons in their arsenal.

The public persona.   The Two Minute Car Wash gorilla is a consistent performer on the public stage, in a high-traffic area of Midtown Atlanta.  The TV reporter is also a public-stage guy with a measure of consistency.  The difference:  The gorilla is a beloved Atlanta institution.  Most of us aren't.

The disposability.  The Two Minute Car Wash has had a mechanical gorilla on the curb for over 25 years.  The gorillas wear out.  Younger gorillas are acquired and seamlessly used to replace the old ones.  Most customers never notice.

One day, WXIA will replace me.  The viewers will never notice.

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