The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Posted on | June 29, 2009 | No CommentsUsually, deaths comes in threes–last week, tho, it managed to hit four celebrities. It was a pretty bad week to be a celebrity, one of the few times it paid to be — obscure. (Although really, I could afford to be a little less obscure than I am). Ed McMahon. Well, he had a good run. Graduate of my alma mater, he defined for my generation what is was to be a second banana. He was having some financial troubles towards the end, so we sort of saw it coming. Joan Rivers used his death as an opportunity to blast Johnny Carson, but no one ever said Joan Rivers wasn’t tacky. Farrah Fawcett Majors–now that was a sad case. I remember seeing her on the “Roast” of Bill Shatner–and she seemed very out of it, so much so that it seemed like it was turning from a roast of Bill to a roast of Farrah. Shortly afterwards, we heard about her cancer and I’m sure that had a lot to do with her appearance that night. She was still beautiful, but it was obvious she’d lost a LOT of weight. Her pain is over…
Now, Michael Jackson. The poor guy can’t even DIE without causing a media circus. Was it drugs, was it this, was it that, should his doctor be arrested, yadayada. The disgusting thing is that people are getting into fistfights, with some people saying, “we’ve lost a great talent,” and others going, “Good, one less pervert.” I don’t think Michael was a child molester. I think he was weird as all get-out, he certainly did some inappropriate things with youngsters, but I really don’t think he was a sociopath who thought he was beyond the concepts of right and wrong. More like, he never quite understood the consequences of some of his actions and how they would appear to others. Like dangling his son over the balcony edge. Sure, he held onto him, he wouldn’t let him drop. But he never considered what the effect on the kid would be, nor that people would perceive it as potentially harmful. So I’m sad that Michael passed on. As for the people saying, “One less pervert,” they’re already justified in their own minds.
So finally we come to Billy Mays. God you had to love that guy. The ultimate pitchman, he filled any room with energy. I remember watching his lesser brethren on the boardwalks of Asbury Park and Atlantic City when I was growing up–I believe Billy got his start on the boardwalks also. I think he’d rather enjoy my little opus letting him pitch Oxyclean from the other side. A rough landing in an airplane appears to have broken open one of the luggage bins above him and he got a smack on the head, causing an epidural hematoma like Natasha Richardson sustained when she died as a result of a ski accident head injury. The FAA claims that Billy was at fault for not wearing a seat belt–I’m sure his wearing a seat belt would have kept the latch closed on the luggage bin…sounds like they’re trying to save the airline from a negligence suit, which shouldn’t be the job of the FAA at all. But we’ve gotten used to the government protecting poor corporate giants from big bad customers. But Billy had it right. The customer was THE important thing. You could have the best product in the world, but if you didn’t treat your customers right, you’d have a warehouse of unsold merchandise. Perhaps we should start thinking of the people who tell us that their businesses are too big or too important to fail as just hucksters and pitchmen. It’s a shame to lose one who was honest enough to accept and enjoy who he was.