"OY! ISSA DINKY DIE FER OZZIE!" -Liam McLeish
With this as his epitaph, we close the final chapter in the history of this fine man. Father of four, devoted husband, renowned scholar, ikebana enthusiast and businessman whose prices were so low, there must have been something wrong with him.
Well, as we all know now, there was something wrong with him. If only someone had said something.
In the early days, while still at university in Melbourne, Liam distinguished himself as the premier interpreter of early Aramaic literature, as well as being the glue that held the Applied Pneumatics department together. This double threat emerged in an academic community desperately calling out for his brand of scholasticism and philosophy (his remarks on Schopenhauer are not without interest).
For a while, he made his way in a world glad to have him. The cracks in the edifice began to appear following a Profound Depth Exploration (diving in an underground lake that lay beneath the ocean floor), where the following sort of exchange between Liam and his peers became all too common.
Dr. McLeish; was heartened and pleased to receive your recent missive on Xenophon's 'History...' Found your contention that the modern term "xeno-phobia" had actual valid ties to both the element xenon and the descendents of Xenophon himself (difficult to locate, to say the least), leading ultimately to a Unified Field Theory in which Everything is everything, as Dr. Hill is quoted as saying...
and 'Ozzie' wrote back:
OY! IF YOU CAN FIND BARGAIN VALUES LIKE THIS ANYWHERE ELSE, I'LL KILL A DINGO! IF YOU REFUSE TO COME ON DOWN AND TAKE A LOOKAROUND, I'LL PUT YOU IN STIR FOR SPOUSAL ABUSE! YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN THE BIG DEPARTMENT STORES! PUT A HAT ON ME AND CALL ME MATILDA! YOU'LL KNOW AT LAST THAT THERE'S NO DEAL LIKE AN OZZIE DEAL!
At first, Dr. McLeish's colleagues thought he might just be engaging in semiotics. Indulging in some post-structural cultural critique; what have you. But despite the fact that he had attended university in Australia, and had one of those names that more or less distinguishes one as being a subject of the Crown, he was from Dubuque, just like you and me: he wasn't Australian.
However, this thing he had become had attracted the attention of Seamus "Smitty" Smith, an actual Australian and a true asshole.
Because of his controversial remarks at the 2004 symposium on Applied Synergetics and Industrial Friction management (he just stood up there at the podium, throwing down hundred dollar bills in a tight stack and saying, "ONE 'UNDRED, TWO 'UNDRED -I AIN'T FINISHED YET! THREE HUNDRED, FOUR 'UNDRED DOLLAZZZ!"), he was asked to leave the Academy. If this caused him any personal anguish, it was lost under the above-board bravado he displayed, saying at the time;
"IF THERE'S A STAIN YOU CAN'T REMOVE, THIS SHAMMY RAG YOU MUST APPROVE! WIF' ALL THE MESSES AND ALL THE HATE, YOU'VE GOT SOME BLOTCHES, IS MY HUNCH, MATE!" after which he offered to get rid of the toughest of stains, with the new Now It Is Chamois (tm) combination towel and cleanser.
Shortly thereafter, "Smitty" Smith met Liam in a local pub and bought him several rum n' cokes. And then he went too far. Beyond here, it was plane rides to Jakarta to meet shady men in fezzes. "Ozzie" hawked their substandard products, glad to do so.
Then the team made for Burbank, and the apotheosis of all dreams.
Forced, in his impaired mental state, to advertise for a product called "Zeeeert!", Ozzie developed an intoxicating pitch that led the American buying public -always suckers for an Aussie- to endless devotion. He also developed a noticeable lump on his upper right forehead, up near the hairline. To all who would notice, this was ominous.
Before long, people were inviting him to events. In his sensible black chambray work shirt, he seemed the picture of colonial thrift. He seemed to embody all that was brash and exploratory in the liberal agenda, as well as all that was shouting and under-analytical in the conservative. People loved him, and he at least appeared to like people.
But this too was difficult to say. When approached by adoring fans who loved him and would gladly take a bullet for any of his products, they would say things like, "I'm so excited to finally meet you, Ozzie," and he'd say something like;
"WHEN THE LIGHT IS GREEN, THE TRAP IS CLEAN! THERE'S NO MORE WORRY WITH THE NOWORRY (tm) BRAND FAMILY OF PRODUCTS! WE ARE TO YOU AS IS THE MOTHER TO THE MAN! AN ENDLESS SOURCE OF WARMTH AND ENTHUSIASM! YOU CAN'T BUY THIS KIND OF THING WITH YOUR CHILDREN'S BLOOD! TRUST ME; I'VE TRIED!"
At which point the generally well-meaning public would scamper away.
His highly enthusiastic sales pitches for Honky's (tm) chain of family fast-food restaurants, Gringo's (tm) brand of fried corn chip, the Hello Telephone (ltd) line of Japanese products kept him in a more or less constant state of travel. Smitty often propped up his "man" with speed, both for endurance of the long hours as well as Liam's well-documented fear of flying.
But it was in the valley of industrial solvents and putties that Ozzie finally crossed his Rubicon.
The Drastic Action (R) family of products beckoned. When spilling a seemingly-uncleansible blood and semen stain onto a pristine dun-colored carpet, he maintained the endless shit-eating grin that suggested endless loyalty of brand consciousness plus a man who desperately wanted to be loved.
Nodding nervously, that same smile seemed to harden into a death rictus.
Before long, his more or less open insanity became a liability with advertisers. He was more or less unable to get more commercial gigs.
With the profits he'd made, he purchased a chain of retail outlets, which he called Crazy Ozzie's.
The commercials tell a story. Sitting behind a squalid counter, surrounded by inventory that looks like it's about to fall over and crush Ozzie, he is barking at the camera:
"YOU MUST COME DOWN HERE AND TALK TO ME! I'M CRAZY! I'VE HONESTLY LOST MY EVER-LOVIN' MIND! WITH PRICES THIS LOW, YOU'LL HAVE ALL THE MORE REASON TO STAND HERE AND LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY! YOU'VE GOT TO! PLEEEASE! WOOFERS! TWEETERS! ONLY FOUR-NINETY NINE! IF YOU'VE SHOPPED AROUND, YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU FOUND! OZZIE OZZIE OZZIE! IF YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IT, THAT MEANS IT'S NOT REAL!"
And it was clear that this was all actually a cry for help. With prices that low, he must have been crazy.
Smitty came back, and said he'd found some product that actually wanted Ozzie to be its pitchman. And it was necessary to fly commercial air to get there. Despite how wretched his mouthpiece had become, Smitty forced him onto a plane, whereupon they went to Laughlin, Nevada to examine whatever the hell the thing was they'd be selling.
When the plane hit the tarmac, an overhead luggage compartment burst open, dumping an overnight bag onto Ozzie's head. The lump on his forehead began to bleed, but Ozzie just kept on smiling that crazy grin of his.
He stood there on the stairs leading to the terminal, blood streaming down his face, hands in place as if holding a product, saying, "SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH! THIS IS CRAZY OZZIE, AND I'M HERE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE SPECIAL LOVE THAT EXISTS BETWEEN A MAN AND HIS RASH! THE TERMINATOR! THE CRUSHER! THE-" and then he lost consciousness, never to regain it.
Seamus "Smitty" Smith's whereabouts remain unknown.