Monday, February 9, 2009

The Hustler

Okay, here is the new career plan…..I am going to become a TV pitchman.

If Billy Mays can do it, so can I. He sells everything from toilet bowl cleaner to health insurance by being fat, obnoxious and shrill. I have two out of the three down AND AM ALREADY WORKING ON THE THIRD.

I saw recently that he was voted the most annoying man on television. This is a little bit like being named the toughest guy in Rahway state prison: an amazing accomplishment considering the ferocity of the competition.

Or how about the skinny schlemiel who hawks the Shamoo? This appears to be a chunk of foam that he puts through its paces mopping up spills, drying off bodies, etc. He makes a big deal about the fact that it was invented by the Germans: that’s right, the people who brought you the Third Reich have now revolutionized spill clean up.

There are also several Australians out there pushing a variety of useless products as well. There is something about the abrasiveness of an Aussie accent that seems to lend itself to the hard sell.

One is selling the Point and Paint which is a piece of foam (again) pasted on something that looks like the pointer on a Ouigi board. You dip it in the paint and push it around the wall in whatever way the spirits move you.

Although there seems to be a recent surge in the number of pitchmen working on TV, the profession is as old as the medium itself, and has been parodied for almost as long. Who can forget Johnny Carson’s Art Fern character pushing Dickie the Stick (“It’s a bat, it’s a gun, it’s a light sword. It’s Dickie the Stick. No batteries required.”), or Dan Akroyd’s unscrupulous huckster with his dangerous toy, “Bag O’ Broken Glass”?

The current crop of products is almost as ridiculous. My favorite is the blanket that has sleeves. Is it my imagination or does this thing makes everyone wearing it look a little creepy, like the last survivors of the Hale Bopp comet sect?

If I am going to pursue this, I too will need product.

One thought is to improve upon the gadget that you plug into your wall and via high frequency audio signals drives out vermin. My version would send your in-laws scurrying by broadcasting Billy Mays shouting: “Get out! Get out before I kill you.”
A simple flip of a switch would get your lazy teenagers out of the house by blaring Celine Dion’s greatest hits.

Grapefruit technology is another area that could be a good product niche for me. I recently started eating grapefruit again in another pathetic effort to lose weight. I had forgotten how annoying it is to eat one of these things. By the time you separate one of the little chunks from its mooring, it has disappeared; or you get a mouthful of pulpy white material that separates the chunks, all the while spraying juice all over yourself. All the smart bomb technology we developed while slaughtering thousands of Iraqi’s will seem worth it when folks try my laser guided grapefruit knife.

My “Erecto Detecto Necktie” is another sure fire winner. This product turns blue and let’s your date know when your Viagara has kicked in. All by itself it could revive the sagging fortunes of the necktie industry.

Another innovative product is my designer name tags. Seniors can affix these attractive items to their outerwear and will no longer have to be calling each other Hon and Buddy whenever they meet. A casual glance downward serves as a useful reminder of your own identity, should that be necessary.

So I have the goods, now I have to get the price down to $19.95.

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