Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not Sold in Any Store

     The other night I couldn’t sleep and reached for the TV remote. As I channel surfed, I sensed that something was missing. I wasn’t happy when I realized it wasn’t something, it was someone. He was gone, the late night King of the Pitch. Could it be possible? Could I truly be missing…him? 
     How was it, I wondered, that I was regretting the loss of someone who drove me crazy hawking products I couldn’t care less about. Every time I turned on the TV there he was, with a mega-grin on his face and a beard so black it looked like he’d just been bobbing for apples in a tub of tar. 
     Billy Mays!
     Sure, Billy was a pitchman who made a fortune peddling OxiClean, Kaboom tub and tile cleaner, the Samurai Shark knife sharpener, the Turbo Tiger vacuum cleaner and such, none of which could be bought in stores, if we believed Billy. But I realize now that his exuberance, if not his products, made me feel good. I’d drift to sleep with his voice bubbling in the background, secure in the knowledge that capitalism was alive and well in America, something I seldom felt while dozing off on politicians or economic pundits.  
     Billy was actually offering something not found in any store—his unbridled enthusiasm. Billy is a reminder of just what we need in these cloudy economic times, a reminder that determination can often win out over talent. To my knowledge Billy never sang or danced, held political office or shared his spiritual views. But by the time he left this world he’d definitely left his mark, a mark that could probably be removed with elbow grease…and of course OxiClean.


  1. Billy is off to that great infomercial in the sky!

  2. Billy Mays could've sold me anything. But I'm a sucker for infomercials, anyway. A great regret in my life is that I do not have any of those furniture mover things. Or the slap chop. Or that fabric glue that mends pants and girders. Or... you get the point.

  3. I miss Billy Mays!

    But who really warms the cockles of my heart? Cathy Mitchell with the RediSetGo cooker.

    All that food! It looks so good and homey. Makes me want to dig in and let her do all the cooking (and hopefully the cleanup, as well). HA!

  4. Billy Mays was from Tampa. One day in June of 2009 we flew back from Buffalo into Tampa. The driver of the shuttle bus who took us back to long-term parking pointed out a plane that had made somewhat of a hard landing a few hours earlier (tires blew out and people were being bumped around).

    Well... Billy Mays was on that plane. It was mentioned the next morning in the news, because his wife found him dead in his bed.

    I think of that every time I see OxiClean.