If you have ever been up late (I mean really late!) or been up early on a Sunday morning (I mean really early) chances are you've seen this face. It's Billy Mays, TV pitchman, who died at the age of 50, on June 28, at his home in Tampa, Florida.
Google his name and you'll find links to news stories about his death, about his last airplane flight, about his career in television "infomercials," and on his new show "Pitchmen."
The purpose of my blog has always been to tell you about those things I'm enthusiastic about. I love television. I watch a lot of television. Much of the television I watch is late (I mean really, really late) at night or early (really early) on Sunday mornings. I channel flip a lot (I have the con in this household) and I have never flipped past a Billy Mays pitch. For years Mays has been a recurring topic of conversation between me and Dick when we talk about a pitchman who has it right. And Mays has been a constant example we put forth in conversation to others as a standard of someone who knows the dynamics of selling, of connecting with an audience. In a week when Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson also died, it's Mays' death that has hit me with the impact of an icon passing—someone whose screen presence was stitched heavily through my life (I told you, I watch a lot of television).
I will always hear his booming voice extolling the virtues of Orange Glo and OxiClean. I will always smile when I recall the aspects of wonder, joy, and belief his presentations exhibited. When someone does their job with unflagging excellence you can't help but be inspired to do your own job a little better, to pick up the pace. I'll miss his presence on television—pushing me to see his point, pushing me towards enthusiasm, pushing me.