Monday, June 29, 2009

RIP Sir Billy Mays, Knight of Consumer Products

Now why am I all sad about the death of Billy Mays? The man was obnoxious, yet I did believe in his products. He was talented at convincing me that way.

He was kind of like the kid in your junior high who was socially awkward, but not in an introverted way--in a loud, booming, in-your-face way. The kid who didn't know when to pull back and give it a rest to let you absorb his presence. The kid who tried too hard but who was basically good inside. That's the Billy Mays pitchman persona. He knows he's being too loud, too forceful, too TOO, but dammit, this product needs to be in your possession and he'll make sure it's so.

Two weeks ago before our move, I finally bought a Billy Mays product. Can you guess what it was? Of course, it was KABOOM Bowl Blaster. I always loved the name, the magenta bottle and the foaming action. Who ISN'T attracted by a foaming toilet-bowl cleaner? Come clean, consumers. You want some KABOOM.

My excuse is that I've been using natural, bio-degradable products in the home for several years now and as a result, my toilets in Vancouver, WA looked like crap. There's something in the water up there, like lime or something, that makes stains. Kind of greenish-brown stains, all around the rim, wherever there's been water passing through. So I got some KABOOM. I was willing to try anything. Even bleach hadn't worked. So I let it foam away. It kind of smells like raspberry gummy sours, which is a weird smell in a bathroom.

Did it work? No. Stains were still there, although slightly faded. Perhaps I had waited too long and the hard-water build-up had completely taken over, but it was fun and I enjoyed the experience. I left it behind for the new owners. I thought it would cheer them up to get in their brand new Northwestern digs and find a magenta bottle of KABOOM in the bathroom. A little welcoming present. Now it will have extra resonance with the passing of Billy Mays.

The geniuses at ONTD have noted that the Discovery Channel has scheduled a "Pitchmen" marathon for Wed., July 1st from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mays and Anthony "Sully" Sullivan co-hosted the behind-the-scenes show about the making and marketing of infomercial-product inventions. I don't have cable at the moment, or even TV itself, but I just thought you would want to know.


Mildred Davenport said...

I wonder what Popeye and Olive Oyl will do without their arch nemesis.

michelle robinson said...

I called my dad the other night and he said "i'm sad, one of my favorie folks died" etc etc bla bla bla, I wasn't really paying attention. Then i said OH! Farrah duh! No he said. huh? MJ? Why would my dad... NO it was Billy Mays, i guess him and my brother sit on the couch (way too much) and watch infomercials. And he said he was said. Weird. Huh?

Lisa Mc said...

We cannot always predict the ways of our emotions. I think the sheer exuberance of Billy Mays will be missed by his television audience. There's something about that level of excitement that can't be faked. And can't be replicated now that he's gone (unless someone wants to be known as a pale imitation pitchman).