So darlings, I’m writing my column with a heavy, inconsolable heart. I, like you, am grieving over the loss of someone truly remarkable who touched the world. A talent, a legend, a voice, that belongs in the pantheon of the ages. A man, who by sheer charisma and camera savvy became the voice of our generation.
I’m talking, of course, about the passing of Billy Mays.
Cherubs, where do I begin with my eulogy of Mr. Mays? I think I need to go way back to the beginning. Before the Mighty Putty, before the Orange Glo, and long before he started dying his beard darker than Elizabeth Taylor’s Black Glamour fur.
It seems like only yesterday when a much younger and burly Billy Mays captured my late night attention with his loud commercial pitches for Oxiclean laundry detergent. Sure, the product was fabulous; his demonstrations were compelling, and the sheer numerical repetition of them just made you want to pull out your credit card and buy Oxiclean by the truckload! Maybe it was just me, but I could read the sexual subtext in those commercials. I remember looking wistfully at Billy’s full luxurious beard and thinking to myself, “Buddy, I could put a stain on your shirt that would take more than two rinse cycles and a scoop of detergent to get rid of.” But then I would remember that sexually objectifying someone and thinking of them only as a piece of man candy is just crass, morally wrong, and unbecoming of an influential role model such as myself, whose mildest opinions and slightest actions inevitably inspire imitation by … “the children.”
Well, despite all the gloom of losing Billy Mays, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon, I do have something uplifting and life-affirming to tell you, and naturally pumpkins, it involves me!
A few weeks ago I was shopping at a large hardware store that shall remain nameless (because last time I mentioned them some politically correct minion e-mailed me and complained vociferously that they were not on the HRC-approved list of gay-friendly employers). As I was leaving with a cart full of bark chip mulch and variegated irises, this adorable older hetero couple came barreling up to me in the parking lot. At first I thought they were going to car jack me because they knew I had lozenges in the glove box, but that wasn’t it at all. They asked me if I liked irises (which I adore!). Before long we were exchanging addresses, and arranging a plant exchange.
The next weekend I dug up a patch of yarrow, put it in a tote and drove over to their house. They gave me a lovely clump of double blue irises, and showed me around their well-tended garden. Now here’s where I lose all sense of impartiality petals, because these folks are my favorite kind of fringe suburban-dwellers. These are the kind of people with that irrepressible kind of joie de vivre who find an excuse to put up displays for every kind of holiday imaginable. The weekend I was there, they were erecting a 16-foot tall plywood Statue of Liberty and a massive copy of the Declaration of Independence. It was AWESOME!!!
But that’s not all. Under their deck they had decorations for nine more annual holidays. Suddenly my light-up Snoopy Santa looked kind of lame. I have to tell you, kittens, I simply adore people who just go all-out, balls to the wall, “screw what the neighbors might think” MAD with front yard displays. This lovely little couple and their front yard Americana just made my week, and I’m still grinning from ear to ear. Happy 4th of July and Pioneer Day Darlings!
You can see Ruby Ridge and the Matrons of Mayhem performing live, in all of their politically incorrect polyester glory every third Friday of the month at Third Friday Bingo, First Baptist Church, 777 S 1300 E in Salt Lake City at 7:00 p.m. This month we celebrate “the Fruited Plain” and all things patriotic.
Win a game of bingo and you get to maneuver between Rusty’s bosoms “swollen with patriotic pride” and reach into the Cleavage of Destiny. And you might just win some FRUIT (no, not Chevy or Rusty … I mean real fruit!) .
The charity of the month is the Salt Lake City Police Dept.’s back to school “Shop with a Cop.” Yes, they’re high-maintenance bitchy queens who gossip too much and wear thigh-high leather boots, but what would we ever do without the Salt Lake City PD Motor Squad? Oh, put the taser down, Officer Poncherello, I’m only kidding. These guys and gals do great work taking low-income kids shopping for back to school supplies and clothes. This is one of our favorite charities, even without the shopping or the handcuffs!
Here’s a quote from a Shop with a Cop officer, Utah County Sherrifs Sgt. Tom Hodgson, that says it all: “I don’t know if you can put into words how it makes you feel. You’re taking a child that is essentially a stranger to you, and [the child] is putting a lot of trust into you, and they’re going with a police officer that they don’t know. To see that child blossom before your eyes and become your friend, you can’t describe it.”
Oh, stop it! I’m getting misty already!