There are certain things that just have a way of getting burned into your brain. Things you can never un-see or forget. Like that nasty car crash that you passed by on the highway, or the first time you went to a funeral and saw a dead body, or the first time you saw Kathy Bates nude in that movie with Jack Nicholson. You get what I’m saying.
One such vivid experience is the first time I experienced Mike Lindell, creator of MyPillow. I was watching a cable program one night, and all of a sudden I was startled by a smiling, mustachioed man — at times I’m not sure whether I see his mustache as more Tom Selleck or more Ron Jeremy — in a silky, at least one size too-large, blue shirt, wearing a cross over said shirt, with a booming, Minnesotan accent, screaming about pillows and his patented fill. I was transfixed.
With his accent, Lindell sounds almost like a young Jesse Ventura, except more like an overly-happy Jesse Ventura who had a religious awakening and wants to share the Good Word rather than share the fact that he’s a “Sexual Tyrannosaurus.”
I did some research on Lindell and found out that prior to making pillows with his patented fill, he was actually a crack addict. He was such a bad crack addict, in fact, that his crack dealer staged an intervention for him (I’m not sure whether I’m more taken aback that the dealer had the kindness to do an intervention, or the fact that he’s talking his own customers out of buying his product; that’s just poor salesmanship). He got his life back on track, found God (that cross isn’t subtle, folks), and then started MyPillow, since he was tired of poor sleep. To be fair, what items you’ll find in most gutters, homeless shelters, or woods behind the 7-Eleven offer very poor neck support, sleep-wise.
Mike developed his patented fill and then started making pillows in his home state of Minnesota. The commercials show him near-shouting and gesticulating wildly in his well-lit factory, with happy employees smiling as they work, and a guy zipping by on a forklift, giving it the feel of being less a workplace and more of a Bob Fosse dance number. The employees appear to me to be either genuinely happy people working for a great guy, or the type of people who might have joined the Heaven’s Gate cult or the Moonies. Or, maybe, a little of both. I don’t know.
Like the old saying goes, “the proof is in the patented fill.” After seeing his commercials at least 200 times, I decided to pony up and fork my money over to Mike. The whole time I was ordering the pillows, I was experiencing mixed emotions. Part of me was excited to soon experience what might be “the best night’s sleep of your life” (anyone who’s seen one of these commercials can only hear that in their head in his voice, with that great Minnesota accent), and part of me felt like I was possibly being taken advantage of, and doing the mercantile equivalent of sending money to one of those televangelists you’d always see on TV back in the 1980s.
About a week and a half later, a box shows up at my front door with Mike’s patented return address on the top-left corner, and let me tell you, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait for bedtime to come around so that I could possibly experience the best night’s sleep of my life.
Honestly, It was amazing. It really, really worked. I felt great. Usually, I stack two pillows, but not this time.
I only needed one pillow.
With Mike’s patented fill.
So, where am I going with all of this? There are two morals to this story. The first moral of the story is that the MyPillow, with its patented fill, is great. Buy one. You’ll love it. The second moral of the story is that you don’t need to get a degree in engineering and source lots of capital to make a great product that improves the world. Sometimes, all it takes is a crippling crack addiction, and a really incompetent drug dealer.