I no longer have a standard mailbox. Instead, I’ve installed a silo-like structure, only bigger—to accommodate the massive volume of mail-order catalogs I now get daily.
At first, I was really impressed, convinced I had finally been taken off that pesky Credit Report’s “Don’t Even Lend Monopoly Money” list, and was at last recognized as a discerning, credit-worthy consumer.
But now that I’ve received well over 1,762 catalogs—including Cher’s hey-I-still-have-a-lot-of-creepy-crap-in-my-attic offerings called Sanctuary II: Buy Stuff, or I’ll Go On Tour Again—it’s clear what mailing list I’m on: people who will buy anything. (Except, of course, the Republican Joe the Plumber Action Figure, which this year has replaced the ever-promising and equally productive Chia Pet.)
Many catalogs I received were filled with fine merchandise and a variety of wonderful holiday gifts. A number of others, however, were not catalogs at all. Oh, they looked like catalogs, but I’m pretty sure they’re actually a new generation of Rorschach tests—the premise being that anyone who orders from these catalogs, particularly those items marked “As Seen On TV,” would probably make Ozzy Osborne sound lucid by comparison.
Consider the Harriet Carter catalogs, which I understand was used to screen potential jurors in O.J. Simpson’s armed-robbery case in Las Vegas:
O.J’s Attorney: “Would you consider buying the Flowbee Home Haircutting System that enables you to give salon-style cuts with your vacuum cleaner?”
Potential Juror: “Is that the same one advertised on TV?”
Attorney: “It’s the same one.”
Juror: “Yeah, I’d buy it.”
Attorney to Judge: “We have no objections to this juror.”
Then, there’s the Fish Tank Video—which I believe was Chi Chi LaRue’s first “nonadult” film project—that Harriet Carter features on page 17. This is for people who would like to have a real fish-filled aquarium, but who for various reasons, such as consistently being outsmarted by doorknobs, are unable to procure such an item.
I don’t think Harriet Carter realizes the high risk of liability here. After all, anyone willing to stare at a virtual aquarium is also probably working with a virtual mind, and at some point is going to think that the fish may be hungry, or the water’s looking a little cloudy. To avoid a lot of nasty lawsuits, I strongly recommend the catalog offer a Feed the Fish in the TV video, along with a Change the Water in the TV video.
Directly across from the Fish Tank Video is Harriet Carter’s Bagel Cutter. According to the catalog, the “clear acrylic holder has a special blade slot to guide the knife, so you don’t have to worry about cutting your fingers or having uneven bagels.”
A couple of points come to mind: (1) If you need a special device to help you cut a bagel, you probably shouldn’t have access to knives or sharp objects of any kind; and (2) Chances are good that uneven bagels aren’t your biggest problem.
But let me make one thing clear: Harriet Carter has by no means cornered the wacko mail-order market. Numerous other catalogs are vying for this coveted position.
For example, there’s the Pacific Spirit Whole Life Products catalog. From them, you can order the “I Am Worthy!” CD, which “enables you to remember that you are really beautiful and capable of good things.” (If you find this CD convincing, I would then highly recommend the aforementioned Fish Tank Video.)
I also received a catalog that consists entirely of cat-related items: calendars, lamps, jewelry, and those just-can’t-live-without-’em cat switch plate covers. There’s also a book you can order entitled Teach Your Cat to Read.
(Shudder) It is a spooky world, isn’t it?
Now, I can only assume there’s an accompanying text titled Teach Your Cat to Talk. Otherwise, a really clever feline could easily fake literacy.
I’ll let you know if the catalog adds this offering for next year’s holiday season. I’m sure to be on its mailing list. After all, I ordered the Harriet Carter Ear Wax Removal System for everyone on my Christmas list.
Well, hey, consider the source here, and have yourselves a happy, wax-free holiday season.
Bye for now.