Pessimism: the American way of life. A long time ago, when I was just a small lad, I would excite myself over the arrival of my dad from a stressful day of work at the office. I would listen eagerly as he and my mother would exchange stories of just how bad their day went, and almost seemed to be quietly competing with one another to see who had it “worse off” that day. As a young child, I swelled with a sense of overwhelming pride that someday, I would be in their positions. I aspired to complain half as well as my parents did, as well as every other American adult, day in and day out. Simply put, adults in America enjoy complaining, especially about the things that they must do in order to attain money.
Now, as an adult with three part-time jobs, not including a seasonal summer job, I can grumble and whine to my heart’s content. I have had my fair share of bad jobs: I worked at McDonald’s for nearly two years, which is an accomplishment that I have no feasible explanation for. I work summers in a sweltering kitchen with the knowledge that my customers are all attending concerts as I slave away for very little money. I work in the renowned retail industry at American Eagle Outfitters, where you constantly feel as though you are being judged. I take care of an elderly man, who drives like a maniac and thinks it prudent to come to complete stops on any and all on and off-ramps on the highway. I feel as though I should have a living-will written up before I get into a car with him, as the old man revels in the fact that his poor driving has nearly killed me on several different occasions. I am a valet parker, where I do naught but run for several hours straight for minimum wage and ungrateful management. Logic tells me that I have every right to complain as the next person trying to fulfill the “American Dream.”
Why don’t I, then? I suppose it all started with Billy Mays, who saved me from this destructive path of job-pessimism. Billy Mays has been doing the same thing for years. Year after year, he produces multiple “As Seen On TV” ads, promoting such products as “OxiClean,” “Hercules Hooks,” and “Mighty Putty.” Nowadays, he is a cultural hero to all of the hard-working Americans watching the infomercials at three o’clock in the morning.
The shocking truth about Billy Mays is that, even though he has been doing the same thing for years, you would be hard-pressed to find a person more enthusiastic about what he or she does for a living. Yelling just about every word that escapes his mouth with a child-like excitement, Billy Mays leaves a lasting impression of optimistic idealism for us all. Although he looks like a regular “dude,” being a heavy-set gentleman with a thick, black beard and a slick, jet-black comb-over, he has rendered himself immortal among the exclusive group of late-night infomercial fanatics.
I believe that everyone should hold some level of enthusiasm for what he or she does. I believe that the optimism that Billy Mays holds for the work that he does will be an essential step towards true happiness in life. I believe that if people act more like Billy Mays, then they will find that the jobs they once loathed will seem much more tolerable. Perhaps, we could all do with a little more Billy Mays enthusiasm in our lives. This I believe.
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