Free TV pillow for a peek at Surry votes?

So sleepy Average Joe in his pajamas stumbles into the bathroom and opens up the medicine cabinet.

“Looks like you’re not sleeping well,” says a cheery man who’s inside the cabinet.

You know the TV commercial. You’ve seen it. It’s the Very Creepy My Pillow Commercial. Those are not my words. Those are the words of a YouTube post where you can watch the commercial again and again at on the internet.

“How did … you … know,” answers Sleepy Joe as his face brightens, his eyes grow wide. He looks as if he’s just found Tom Brady or LeBron James in his bathroom.

“Hey, you’re that guy!” Joe’s perky wife joins in with a wide grin. “The My Pillow Guy!” wide-eyed Joe announces.

Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell in 2004 launched a side business to add to a portfolio that included operating lunch wagons. Lindell sold four bars to finance his new project. Since, My Pillow has ballooned into a major Minnesota manufacturer that has sold 41 million pillows and employs some 1,500. TV infomercials starting in 2011 are credited with making My Pillow such a hit nationwide.

The company has been sued over advertising claims and has been downgraded by the Better Business Bureau. But as a disclosure know that my wife has bought three My Pillows. And though they feel light and feel like they lack filling, they’re quite comfortable and are holding up well. I like ‘em. My head’s on one as I write this column.

These days the My Pillow guy is not camping out in bathroom medicine cabinets. He’s spooking people in, of all places, Surry County.

In the 2016 election the Minnesota businessman began touting Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, speaking at Trump campaign rallies.

“When I met with Donald Trump, it felt like a divine appointment,” Lindell proclaimed during a 2019 speech at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., “and when I walked out of that office I decided I was going to go all in.”

And all in he went, with Lindell subsequently speaking out more and more on politics. He spoke at the 2019 “CPAP” Conservative Political Action Conference (where he said Trump was “chosen by God”), was a guest speaker at a 2020 White House coronavirus press conference, launched a social media site in 2021 and for this election year reportedly considered challenging Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

Lindell’s politicking got My Pillow kicked out of Kohl’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond stores, Lindell claimed and folks with the stores denied. Twitter has banned him, YouTube has taken down his political videos.

Then Lindell’s outspokenness reached all the way to Surry County, where the county GOP chairman and others want to check 2020 voting and look for election fraud. They’re hunting for ballot stuffing in a county where GOP candidates got 69 percent or more of the ‘20 vote, Donald Trump got 75 percent, and this year Democrats have fielded only one candidate each for county board and Mount Airy school board.

Surry seems an odd place to look for Democrat ballot-box stuffing. If it’s been happening, they’ve done a lousy job of it.

Lindell, who’s challenged the 2020 presidential-vote results, got his name on the agenda of a Surry commissioners session May 16, subject election integrity, at the request of the Surry GOP. It created a bit of a stir. But fans who packed out the board room in the old courthouse in Dobson and who overflowed onto the grounds got disappointed; Lindell was nowhere to be seen, no explanation given.

Instead, a lineup of three stand-ins included a fired New Mexico State University professor who asked the county board to inspect voting machines to look for evidence of hacking. Another challenger asked for sixth-graders to count ballots.

The Surry board chairman responded by referring any cases of potential improper voting to the elections board, and he spoke in support of fair elections.

The Surry elections director has been commendably temperate and businesslike in face of the challenges from the Right. However, state elections director Pat Gannon indignantly called it all “unfortunate for Surry County voters that these individuals are being given a platform to continue to spread disinformation.”

Which leads me to suggest the next great My Pillow TV commercial: Pat Gannon stumbles into her bathroom and opens up her medicine cabinet.

“Looks like you’re not sleeping well,” says a grinning man on the other side of the cabinet. “How ‘bout I open up your voting machines and take a look? Here, have a free pillow, on me.”

Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.