Friday, November 4, 2011

Tis The Season to Send Catalogs

I left my husband to a pile of mail and a football game recently. Apparently, it wasn’t a good football game but it was a very entertaining pile of mail. Upon my return home, he had one page of a magazine lovingly opened to showcase his dream buy. It was large. It was expensive. It was 18 feet tall and had “its hindquarters and tail elevated above its head in a playful stance.” It has a red a green scarf and each hoof the size of an armchair. Yes, my friends, my husband wanted to buy a two story tall inflatable reindeer.

Where did he get this idea? The Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. I can’t imagine actually buying anything out it, but it sure is fun to look through. (Yes dear, that includes the damn reindeer. I don’t need its beady little eyes staring directly into my bedroom while I sleep. Plus, it looks like it just got a proctology exam and it isn’t very happy about the results.)

If you want to spend oodles of money on absolutely ridiculous items, this is the place. Would you like a Rolling Stone Pinball Machine? It’s only $5,900 (stench of booze and used condoms not included.) How about the Stock Car Racing Simulator? For a mere $60,000 it can be yours and you won’t even have to worry about dying in a storm of fire, steel, and fumes. For the professional stargazer, there is the Observatory class telescope for $35,000. Obviously, the advanced astronomer buys one of these bad boys out of a run of the mill Christmas catalog, right?

Is a two-story inflatable not your speed? Want to go low tech and light on the wallet? Then, for the pet lover, there is the dogbrella. It’s an umbrella for a dog. You take a normal umbrella, except you put the handle on the top, so that the owner can hold it over the top of the dog. Sort of like a plunger, just really, really large. The umbrella goes on the bottom, the handle on the top, the dog under the umbrella, the owner holding the handle: wet owner, dry dog. Slightly higher tech and for the Harry Potter fan, there is the magic wand remote control. You can wingardium leviosa yourself into a carpel tunnel brace and probably poke your eye out all at the same time. Brilliant! There is also the healthy deep fryer, a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one.

Of course, there are always the basic Star Wars items. The original blueprints to the Death Star, along with the rest of the various vehicles, droids, and ships are available for your purchase. Many Bothan died to bring you that information. Use it wisely. Also available:

  • A remote controlled Millennium Falcon. (Can you fly it better than Han? Than Lando? He totally doesn’t get credit for his skills in Jedi.)

  • An R2-D2 Projection alarm clock (Since regular beeping noises aren’t bad enough, now you can get beeping and bipping in a “foreign language”)

  • An actual voice activated R2-D2 (he can play tag, but he can’t serve drinks)

  • Replica lightsabers (the description says they even hum and swoosh)

I’m not impressed, I’ve seen half of these items at the local Toys R Us, and a catalog without a Han Solo in carbonite or even a life-sized Storm Trooper isn’t worth its weight in galactic credits.

The catalog does have an intriguing assortment of what I could best describe as retro-technology. For example, you can turn your iPhone back into a standard handset telephone. Why you would want to, I have absolutely no idea. It also has totally useless baking supplies. Want the equivalent of a personal waffle maker, but for pies? They have it! Do you want heated socks? They have those too! If it is totally useless, completely novel, will only be used once, and will probably be forgotten about in the back of a closet never to be seen again, well by God, this is the catalog for you.

So, my friends, if come the holiday season, you see a reindeer the size of a house standing in my yard, looking like it got The Shocker, please know that my revenge will be swift but deadly. Because buried in the back of the pages, almost unseen, but definitely not unheard, is the Thunderclap Alarm Clock. At 113 decibels, with three flashing LEDs, with a vibrating pad for under the mattress, I’m pretty sure that when that thing goes off, you don’t just get out of bed, you go through the roof. That will be the punishment for the reindeer. I’ll make sure the kids are up first. And for those pesky little BIL’s who are thinking they can get away with an “inflate and run”, thinking impending aunt-hood will get them off, think again. Now I have an alarm clock. Ho! Ho! Ho!

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