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Cataloging Consumption

By Bob Woodiwiss · March 18th, 1999 · Pseudoquasiesque
Just like you, my mailbox doubles as a point-of-sale for merchants and merchandisers, as every day a veritable bale of catalogs, brochures, circulars, come-ons, flyers, coupons, offers and various other invitations to consume to my maximum potential are delivered there. And while it's easy to disregard the two-color postcard offering a free estimate on having my navel steam-cleaned or shun the mundane objets of the low- to middle-brow retailers, who can resist the cost-prohibitive, plussed-up snobjets of the unrepentant upscale purveyors? Here are a few items you may want to move up to:

From Smith & Hawken: The $1,000 Garden Fork. A full 1/8-inch longer than lesser garden forks, the $1,000 Garden Fork gives gardeners of ideal height optimal fulcrumization for unparalleled leverage authority. Its five tines (instead of the customary four) create 20 percent more negative space (holes) when plunged into soil. Made of forged titanium, the fork features a handle of Virginia ash, which has been genetically altered to have the look, feel and strength of steel while retaining all the cachet of wood. Comes with a suede carrying case. $1,000.00.

From The Sharper Image: Tahamanaka Patio Umbrella. For generations, the indigent people of the equatorial island of Tahamanaka handcrafted these umbrellas as meager shelter for their families.

In recent years, crowded, clamorous "umbrella villages" sprang up across the island, until, just last summer, the dictatorial Tahamanakan government ordered the army to disband and disperse them. Now, by special arrangement with General Fa Bhatu, owning one of these enchanting, colorful umbrellas is no longer restricted to those without money. $879.00.

From Williams-Sonoma: Sterling Silver Margarine Knives. In today's cholesterol-conscious home, a butter knife is simply not enough. A set of three elegant, drop-forged knives, each one designed to spread a specific type of margarine -- tub, stick or squeeze. Available in a choice of charming patterns, including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Arts & Crafts and Art Garfunkel. $289.95.

From Brookstone: ComPESTOr. Combine your love of gardening with your love of gourmet cooking. The ComPESTOr is the same size and shape as a traditional composter but what a difference! Just fill ComPESTOr to the line with your lawn and shrub clippings (approx. 4 bushels), toss in a braided rope of garlic and gallon of olive oil, then let it sit for three days and voila! You and the heat of the sun have created an all-natural, no waste, irresistible yard pesto. Mmm-mm, delicious. $479.95.

From Hammacher Schlemmer: Furby's Father. Why settle for owning a Furby when you can own Howard Gurgluntz, the man who invented the Furby? Compulsive gambling and a devastating divorce have made this brilliant toy visionary available to us. And now to you and your child. $563,000.00 (plus the current vigorish on Howard's outstanding debts).

From Harry & David: The Perfect Peach. Quite simply the most succulent, flavorful, magnificent peach you've ever seen or tasted. Shipped to you with a complimentary Smith & Wesson .45 in the full expectation that after you've eaten this peach, it will become only too clear that there's nothing else to live for. $599.95.

From The Territory Ahead: Emperor's Tee. Our top-of-the line T-shirt is 100 percent diaphanous Tibetan spider silk. Difficult if not impossible to see and weighing less than .01 grams, this tee is perfect for those occasions when you can't decide between going bare-chested and throwing on the least possible covering. Available in invisible umber, imperceptible sage and bright clear. $189.99. ©



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