Rene Lacoste: The Crocodile

Why “le croc?” “The machine” is a better nickname. That’s what Tilden called me because I sent every ball back like the ball machine I would invent in 1947. Invented the steel racquet, too, much later. From wood to steel. Another machine like those human beings in modernist paintings of Fernand Leger.

I was called “le croc” because I won a bet for a crocodile-skin suitcase. I knew a good promotion when I saw it, so I gave the reporters a quote: “the nickname highlighted my tenacity on the tennis courts, never giving up my prey.” I bided my time in the shallow water of the baseline, waiting and watching and never missing a shot, perfecting various ways to lure my opponents up to the net. Then I would hurt them with sudden passing shots, the accuracy of my razor sharp teeth.

Like Warhol, though, “I wanted to be a machine.”  Mass production. Mass advertising. Green and green and green and green. Coca-Cola bottles. The crocodile logo on Lacoste polo shirts. The year of my death (1996), I passed away into an afterlife of pure promotion. We (the corporate we) wrote up an ad with a picture of the Lacoste tennis shirt and its crocodile logo with the American words “see you later.”

Alligator or Crocodile. Best ad line the machine ever wrote.

Artist Bio: Leonardo Luque, a retired Colombian naval officer, earned his fine arts degree in 2012 from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Colombia. Currently a player on Colombia’s 65s team for the world championships, Leo has drawn all his life and is especially interested in the beauty and motion of the human body. After traveling through China and Panama, he settled down with his family in 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.

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