Flash back to the summer of 1975 or 76. My sister was home visiting, and I was in graduate school at Northwestern and living with Mom. The way our rooms were situated was that mine was over the garage, and hers up the landing and to the right. But our windows were very close by. It was hot and humid, so our windows were wide open.
I was watching a new show, Saturday Night Live. They had a sketch that was so funny, I was laughing so hard tears flowed down my face, and I rolled around in bed. I couldn’t be silent, even though everyone was asleep. I screamed in laughter. Really.
Margo came into my room and asked what was so funny. All I could do was point at the TV. It was a new character made of clay, with a high pitched voice dressed in one outfit. It was Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill always talked in the falsetto voice to an unseen Mr. Hands. Bad things always happened to Mr. Bill. If he had a sprained wrist, a drunken orthopedic surgeon would cut off his arm. An O shaped mouth would scream, “Oh no……..” Every time Mr. Bill was on, something sadistic happened to him and his clay body.
I became obsessed with Mr. Bill. He had a dog made of yellow clay who suffered similar fates. When I was a first year vet student, we had a Halloween party in costume. My classmate, Anna, and I put on “Mr. Bill goes to Anatomy Lab.” He said he was a dog lover, and had a wonderful dog. A voice would always sing “Here comes Mr. Bill’s dog.” In our sketch, Anna sang it to perfection. When Mr. Bill told the audience it was a racing greyhound, the dogs we used to use for dissection, the whole room cracked up. They knew what would transpire. “Oh noooooo!”
When I first starting using Chewy.com, they had a perfect Mr. Bill dog toy. Instead of squeaking, it screamed, “Oh no………….” I kept the toy for me, and ordered another for Ivy. She soon became obsessed with Mr. Bill. I can be far away in the house and hear a muffled “Oh noooooooooo” Ivy knows the toy by name, and will go look for him when asked. She tries to take him outside, which I won’t let her do, so when I open the door, she lets me take his white hand, and goes out.
When I mention that Ivy’s favorite toy is Mr. Bill, Millennials look at me with blank stares. They have no idea who he is. Go to YouTube, kids, and laugh your guts out.