Everyone has occasional bouts of sleeplessness, where you wake up in the middle of the night and, unable to return to slumber, grab the television remote, flipping from channel to channel. It was on one such night that I first became acquainted with the man you could probably say is the “king of the t.v. commercial-” Mr. Billy Mays.

Oh, I don’t mean that I know him personally or have ever met the guy face-to-face, but I have become familiar with him, via the endless sea of commercials he appears in. What makes Billy Mays stand out from his peers is that he promotes every single product he is pushing by yelling at you about them. He helps sell everything from OxiClean to the Sweeper Vac to the Vidalia Chop Wizard and several other intriguing gadgets by shouting out every detail about them. It’s like being around your elderly Uncle Finster, who yells everything he says whenever he forgets to put in his hearing aid.

Billy Mays got his start pitching products in Atlantic City, New Jersey and went on to do traveling home shows, where he was discovered by the guy who founded Orange Glo International. The man apparently thought that Mays’ screaming technique was just what was needed to successfully promote his line of household and cleaning products, so he brought the burly pitchman aboard. Television commercials and eardrums have never been the same since.

Do you ever wonder if Billy Mays is the same way in his personal life? I can just picture the deer-in-the-headlights expression on the face of his wife, as she has to endure his endless bouts of yelling, day after day. My guess is that she has probably given serious consideration to hiring a hitman.

I’m pretty sure that the people who chose Mays to promote their company’s merchandise knew that his voice was loud, piercing and annoying, which is exactly why they use him. We may loathe the sound of his voice, but we remember the products he pushes. I have to admit that I even bought a Vidalia Chop Wizard, after listening to a Mays’ commercial about it several times. I did not buy it because of him, though, but in spite of him, which makes a vast difference, in my way of thinking.

Still, I guess I must resign myself to the fact that Mr. Mays is going to keep making commercials and shouting at the millions of folks who watch them. Like a reoccurring rash, he is not going away anytime soon.