My Hammacher Schlemmer Christmas catalogue arrived a little later than usual this season. I know because last year I remember using it to swat flies at our July Fourth cookout. So once again, to save you the trouble of wading through all the gift ideas, I offer a few of my favorites. Yes, these are all real. Try to resist.
Shark bait sleeping bag: Your kids feel safe and secure in their home and are finally sleeping nightmare-free. Why not surprise them with a life-size shark sleeping bag? The brochure photo shows a toddler, snuggled inside the bag, with only his head sticking out of the shark’s mouth. According to HS, this neat gift “devours children with shark-induced slumber.” Soothing, huh? But there’s more: “It facilitates restful sleep even while the child is being digested.” My suggestion is to wait and buy this on Craigslist for one-tenth the price on Dec. 26.
Fold-away adult bunk beds: This is the perfect gift for parents who are preparing their young teens for life in a penitentiary. HS claims it can be put together and taken apart without tools, which is important because you don’t get to play with screwdrivers and hammers when you are in maximum security. The manufacturer says the beds are guaranteed for life, so don’t waste this set on a kid who only aspires to petty larceny.
The gyroscopic watch winder: I had no idea what this was. In the old days, I just twisted the stem with my thumb and forefinger every night. Then the self-winding watches were invented and that really freed up my evenings. Now I discover you need some fancy instrument to wind your expensive watch properly. Apparently, a gyroscope is the most efficient and accurate way to do this. But is it pronounced jiro-scopic, hero-scopic, or gearo-scopic? Even the waiters at the Greek restaurant weren’t sure.
World’s largest gummy bear: HS says this is 1,000 times larger than a traditional gummy bear. But is it snack food or a big game trophy? HS advises that it tastes best when kept in the fridge and then sliced into cutlets, which is a term that should really be reserved for veal. The giant gummy bear is cherry flavored and serves 12 kids – or 106 adults.
The spinning spaghetti fork: Are you tired of driving all the way over to Olive Garden or Bucca di Beppo and poring over their exhaustive menus only to have to actually twirl the spaghetti on your fork yourself? The spinning fork has “a thumb activated button that turns the device at 22 rpm … and it fits neatly in your mouth without creating a mess.” This is the exact same copy as on the next page about their electric toothbrush, which is $75 more expensive. So I’d buy the fork. You’re welcome.