Joe Isuz-who?

We were watching TV one day last week and a commercial came on. I can’t remember the product, but the pitchman was a dead ringer for Joe Isuzu.

“That guy’s a dead ringer for Joe Isuzu, huh?” I asked Tara.

She turned to me with a blank look on her face, and I cringed when she said, “Who’s Joe Isuzu?”

For the most part our age difference is a non-factor, but it’s cases like these – usually pop-culture references that go over her head – that best illustrate the eight-year divide.

“Who’s Joe Isuzu?!” I replied, stunned. “You might as well not even know who Spuds McKenzie is!”

Cue the blank look.

joe isuzu

Oh, man. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Which sacred American pop icon will my dear wife confess to being oblivious to next? Mikey from Life cereal? Mean Joe Green? The California Raisins??

David Leisure was the quintessential product spokesman – smarmy, confident, and funny. I loved those commercials. His character, Joe Isuzu, became so popular that Michael Dukakis even mentioned him in a 1988 presidential debate.

Tara, please tell me you know who Michael Dukakis is…!

Anyway. We had a nice little weekend getaway in Ocean Shores, WA. Met up with Anne, Anthony, Tracy, and David at a beach house maybe half a mile from the ocean. A break in the weather gave us the opportunity to walk along the shore without getting drenched, and Saturday evening we bought fresh Dungeness crab and steamer clams to go along with the clam chowder Tracy made. Damn good dinner, if I do say so myself. We mostly relaxed, watching movies and taking advantage of the hot tub on the deck. There are a crazy number of deer roaming freely throughout town. We saw them lined up along the main drag at all hours of the day. Kinda cool. Ocean Shores is a sleepy little town, not at all touristy like some of the places along the Oregon coast. It was a refreshing change of pace.

We wanted to be home in time for the AFC Championship game, but were under the impression it began at 1:00. Well, it did start at 1:00…Denver time. Details, details. So we ended up listening to the first half on AM radio (how quaint!) during the drive home. We got back in time for the second half, so at least we got to see our Broncos finish off the Pats and advance to the Super Bowl. PFM, baby! One more game to go!!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

12 thoughts on “Joe Isuz-who?

  1. We bought the claymation Christmas special featuring the California Raisins signing Rudolph on DVD and force the offspring to watch it each year. The relics still live!

    Oh, and Go Panthers 🙂


  2. Contrary to rumor, Mikey from Life Cereal did not meet an untimely demise after ingesting a lethal combination of Pop Rocks and soda; in his 20s, he was a bouncer at a local dive bar in my area. It was terribly exciting.


  3. Yup…I remember who Joe Isuzu (David Leisure) was, Mark. Also, Spuds McKenzie. They both were around in the 80’s if I’m not mistaken.

    “We mostly relaxed, watching movies and taking advantage of the hot tub on the deck. There are a crazy number of deer roaming freely throughout town. We saw them lined up along the main drag at all hours of the day. Kinda cool.”

    Sounds like a great weekend! I’m sure you’ve heard about the huge blizzard we had. Everyone was flipping out anticipating it’s arrival. I on the other hand, sat with my nose pressed up against the window, eagerly awaiting it. And it didn’t disappoint me. It was faaaaaaabulous!


    1. Yes, they were big in the 80s. Mikey and Mean Joe Green date back to the 70s. Not that I’m old or anything!

      All this blizzard talk definitely had me thinking of you, Ron. Mostly jealously, I might add. Glad you enjoyed a really big dump!

      Err…you know what I mean…


  4. That guy was on Empty Nest wasn’t he? The show about a doctor and his 2 daughters. I think so.

    And The California Raisins are a phenomenal pop culture reference! Remember the claymation specials?! So awesome!


    1. Yeah – I had forgotten all about Empty Nest, but you are correct! And yes, the claymation specials were really cool. I think they should bring ’em back so today’s generation can enjoy them. If they can tear themselves away from their phones long enough, that is.

      Come to think of it, I bet there’s a California Raisins app…


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