Just in time, my newest Hammacher Schlemmer catalog has arrived, I assume for Christmas 2015. Below are some actual items for sale.
Instant Pickleball Set: This game sets up in the yard in minutes. It combines the skills required for badminton, table tennis and regular tennis. I think we can all agree that when we want spur-of-the-moment enjoyment, the first thing we think of is combining three sports we are bad at.
By the way, the national pickleball champion has been accused of deflating the balls in the competition. In pickleball, this is just not kosher.
The Giant Rubber Duckie: This 8-foot inflatable duck for the pool has a pretty good chance of turning up in your kids’ nightmares. Here’s what the catalog says: “The Rubber Duckie has a bulbous aquatic form … with a bouncing buoyancy that compels wanton water play.” There’s a nightmare for writing teachers.
The Evaporative Cooling Hat: Here’s how it works: You pour a little H20 into the head gear, and it is absorbed immediately into the fabric in the rim of the hat. Actually, this seems stupid to me, but for $39.95, it’s gonna make a great magic trick.
Fish-Catching RC Boat: The perfect gift for the absolute laziest person in your life. It’s a pint-sized boat that fishes for you. Yes, it trolls the lake, sets the hook when the fish strikes and then brings the fish back to shore. It’s $69.95, but for an extra six bucks you can get a sign to put on your front door: Home fishing.
The Best Talking Scale: This scale speaks English, Spanish, Greek and Croatian. The good news is that the scale is very accurate. The bad news is, it only knows one joke: “One at a time, please,” which apparently is new material in Croatia.
Authentic Sleep Sound Generator: This device produces a whooshing sound that helps block out distracting sounds like traffic or ticking clocks. The device is on sale because a lot of people returned it last year, complaining they still couldn’t sleep because they kept hearing this annoying whooshing sound.
The SmartBrella: This is an umbrella that has a smart phone attached to the handle. So while walking in the rain, you can hit the button and make a call.
People thought you were crazy talking to yourself with that Bluetooth in your ear. Now the whole neighborhood thinks you are having a conversation with an inanimate object. Here’s my prediction for what people will say about you when they see you using this contraption: “Mostly funny, with only a slight chance of sane.”
Only Illuminated Manicure Set: This is for women who want to give themselves a pedicure in the dark. In this same brochure, you can purchase a lamp to attach to your grill so you can barbecue in the evening.
Want to read a book at night? I’m thinking you can figure that out by yourself.
How to Write Anything: Hammacher Schlemmer seldom sells books, but they are very excited about this publication by noted author and professor, Laura Brown. Included are step-by-step instructions for how to write resumes, thank-you notes, condolence letters, and more — all good advice so you will never write something like, “The Rubber Duckie has a bulbous aquatic form … with a bouncing buoyancy that compels wanton waterplay.”