How the wise choose their battles in the war against foolishness
Did you stop in to get your free taco?
Or did the infantile back-and-forth between Red Sox outfielder Brock Holt and Taco Bell cause you to lose your appetite?
With its latest promotional brainstorm, Taco Bell seemed to hit on its most creative ad campaign since Gidget the Chihuahua. Steal a base, steal a taco cleverly leveraged the World Series to drive customers into stores and get everyone talking about the iconic fast food franchise.
Too bad the conversation didn't go as expected.
It started off well enough, when lead hitter Mookie Betts stole second for the Red Sox in the series opener. But everything went afoul after that.
The marketing department had assumed, reasonably, that Red Sox players would enthusiastically celebrate their teammate's moment of glory. Instead, when asked to comment on the newly coronated Taco Hero, second baseman Brock Holt chose to express his dislike for Taco Bell and his preference for Chipotle.
He followed up his editorial with some crude remarks about spending the night in the bathroom.
If professional athletes weren't making such outrageous salaries, it might be easier to overlook this kind of adolescent inelegance. But there is no excuse for Mr. Holt's unforced error of incivility.
By any account, the promotion was a win-win --- it honored the game, honored the player, and celebrated the fans.
Memo to Brock Holt: it's not about you.
Then the embarrassing episode went from bad to worse. The Taco Bell PR department -- apparently unable to help itself
responded by tweeting
If Holt's comments are any indication, he's just jealous he wasn't this year's 'Taco Hero.' After all, not all heroes wear capes.
Memo to Taco Bell: when adults act like children, don't climb into the sandbox with them.
If the brainiacs behind the Taco Bell tweet absolutely had to reply, it's a pity they didn't put more brainwork into their response.
The assortment of clever repartees missed might have done Cyrano de Bergerac proud.
"Since Mr. Holt has chosen to decline his free taco, the first person to mention his name at any store will receive two free tacos."
"We would like to help Mr. Holt avoid any more unfortunate experiences at Taco Bell. We will provide him with a $5.00 gift certificate to Chipotle upon request."
"We regret that we are unable to please every patron. However, occasional customer dissatisfaction is part of the Nuts and Holts of any business."
"We proudly maintain the highest standard of cleanliness in our bathrooms in case Mr. Holt has to slide into the facilities."
"If Mr. Holt steals his way to the loo, will that make him a chip off the old Brock?" "An exploratory committee is looking into partnership with Disney to create a new menu item honoring Mr. Holt. Please vote for your favorite name
Chalupa de Vil
Burrito and the Beast."
King Solomon warns, The wise man who debates the fool, whether with barbs or wit, gains no satisfaction.
Anyone who hopes to educate a fool will find his efforts as fruitless as cursing the rain. By definition, a fool has no desire to become wise; he doggedly persists in his foolishness.
However, to expose the ways of foolishness, cynicism, and incivility to the world, to mock those who seek to inflate their petty egos with gratuitous derision --- that is a worthwhile undertaking. The more society rejects caustic foolishness, then the more noble human qualities may ultimately prevail.
Certainly, there are many more substantial stories in the headlines than baseball and tacos. But the refinement we bring to our little conversations helps fashion the quality of our discussions about weightier matters.
Heaven knows, we need all the help there that we can get.