According to numerous new outlets and his son's Twitter account, Billy Mays has died. This sucks.
Billy Mays made me want products I never even knew I needed. And not in a sleazy, "you're not cool if you don't have it" way. In a way that celebrated invention, ingenuity and hilariously extreme laziness (See: pants glue).
I have a theory. The nutritional value of ice cream is misleading because there's no metric for joy. This theory applies to the products sold by Billy Mays.
Earlier this year I bought a Steam Buddy, in large part because Billy Mays' name was on it. Yeah, maybe I could just iron my clothes, or go the dry cleaner as often as I should, or even buy a professional steamer and keep it in a closet. But it delights me that I have a contraption that does -- cheaply and well -- what I need it to do.
Last month a friend of mine got married, and instead of giving her hand towels or champagne flutes, I bought her a set of my most favorite As Seen on TV products. She loves them, and has the same look on her face each time she tells me she used one. It's the look we all get when we use an item Billy Mays sold -- a smug, twinkly smile that says you found a faster, better, more clever way to do something, and it was only $19.99.
In the end, Billy Mays wasn't great because he was a great salesman. He was great because either through his products, his personality, or his mere existence, he made people feel like this:
Photo courtesy of LaurenFarmer, under CC licensing. Taken by Tiffany Arment