Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Memories

     The older I get, the more interesting the past becomes. Yea, even the recent past. And I become ever more interested in perpetuating the memories thereof. Of course, not all such memories are of equal value, but even the kitsch of America’s recent past has important lessons for our future promoters, pitchmen, and pimps.

     There’s charm in the very idea of the independent flackster who can, with a modest expenditure of time, money, and effort, become a “household word,” even if the products he flogs us with are unadulterated wastes of money. They embody a style, an individuating manner that, mated to sufficient chutzpah, has the potential to make a Ragged Dick into a multimillionaire renowned around the world...or at least in Island Park, NY.

     Wherefore I declaim upon the importance...nay, the moral necessity...of a Hall of Fame explicitly dedicated to these champion commercializers of crap.

     It is of course vitally important that the Hall be situated in a relevant place. I propose: a warehouse in Fairlawn, NJ filled with unsaleable merchandise made in the world’s backwaters. You know, the sort of thing you get “free” (pay only separate shipping & handling) with your order of a set of Ginsu knives:

     The awards ceremony must, of course, be held in the wee, small hours (Eastern Standard Time), and covered solely by cable channels with copious unsold programming time. The most appropriate masters of ceremonies would be the titans of our game shows: folks such as Bob Barker, Groucho Marx, Allen Ludden, Hugh Downs, Richard Dawson, Art Fleming, Alex Trebeck, and (of course) the great Monty Hall. (What’s that you say? Most of those are dead? Such trifles! Surely God would reanimate them for a duty this important! At least for an hour or so.) Elevation to the Hall would recognize various categories of achievement:

  • Sales volume;
  • Variety of products hawked;
  • Most annoying infomercial;
  • Most deceptive advertising practices;
  • Most innovative but useless product;
  • Highest “shipping & handling” revenue;
  • Popularization of a pitch line.

     Each such category would recognize an honoree annually. (No, there would be no possibility of declaring “No Award” for the past year. Shame on you for thinking of such a thing!) Each category would be introduced with “But wait: there’s more!” (Yes, yes, even the last one.) The winner’s name would be blared out in the unique voice and inflection of the late, great Billy Mays. The award statuette – the Ronnie, of course – would be in the shape of a Popeil Pocket Fisherman, mounted on a thin base of low-grade steel fabricated in Burkina Faso. And of course, there would be a Lifetime Achievement award, which Ron Popeil would win every year.

     I can’t believe no one has thought of this before me. Well, maybe someone did, but he didn’t want to look silly. Certified Galactic Intellects don’t have that problem. Now, which cablecast channel would be willing to host the first show for an in-kind payment of Vegematics and SlapChops? And to whom could we sell the commercial slots? Hmmm...

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