Opinion: Present company included

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Sitting on my porch on a hot recent day, it was a breath of cold air when the mail arrived with six Christmas catalogs — just in the nick of time, because I planned to start my holiday shopping any 90 days now.

My favorite publication was the “Hammacher Schlemmer” catalog, which always begins with a note by HS spokesperson Richard Warren. In this edition, he begins by alluding to the pandemic. Just what we need to get us into the holiday mood.

“People want quality products that address the issues we all face,” Warren said. Here are examples:

A Two-Story Inflatable Cat: This is the largest Halloween decoration in the world. It’s only $299.95 — but for those interested in authenticity, how about offering a 10-foot-square litter box?

Laser Hair Regrowth Therapy Cap: This gadget uses photo biomodulation with 82 medical-grade lasers. It “encourages hair growth.” Sorry, but have you seen my hairline? It needs more than encouragement; it needs some tough love. For three grand, you can upgrade this product with three times as many lasers, which you’ll need, says HS, “if you’re already balding.” Perfect for guys who also want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

Memory Foam Slippers: I’m not sure what that phrase means, but at my age, it can’t hurt to have shoes that remember where I’ve been … and maybe where I am going.

Easy Read Scale: This is an analog bathroom scale with giant numbers. HS claims anyone can see the numerals. Well, almost anyone, if you get what I mean.

Build Your Perfect Sport Stadium: This kit for kids allows them to design and construct their own miniature stadium. It comes with walls, stands, lights and overhangs but no tiny fans to put in the seats. That would not be realistic.

The Best Bug Vacuum: This cordless device inhales insects. According to HS, “The institute analysts sucked up 24 crickets in 15 seconds.” Wow, what fun! And we all know how often a situation like that comes up.

Cordless Ultrasonic Rodent Repeller: The sound it emits cannot be heard by humans, but it repels rats. Then where do the rats go? Back under your bed? HS says this unit can be mounted on a wall. What’s more welcoming for Thanksgiving guests than to see you have a rat deterrent device hanging next to the dining room table?

And finally, the $29.95 Five Mile Flashlight: I have nothing funny to say about this item, but I’d really like one and my friend at HS sometimes sends me an inexpensive gift to thank me for mentioning Hammacher Schlemmer in my column. Hi, Ann Marie :-).


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