I mock because I envy.

The single best thing that has ever been randomly sent through the U.S. Mail- ever- is something that I’m about to share with you.

It is a catalog. And it has changed my life.

Not only that, but I am also able to show you each individual item that has made me a better American- nay, human being. For- their online catalog is gonna allow me some visual aides.

Ready? (Of course you aren’t. How do you prepare for something of this magnitude? As for me, I usually take a little power nap.)

Let’s begin with an item I like to call- My Back Is On Fire. This gem, a.k.a. the Rock Music Men’s Hoodie, features a guy who’s too cool for any school (except, inexplicably, he seems to be in some sort of establishment with lovely wood paneling, so I guess he did all right for himself anyhow)- with a gigantic electric guitar on his back. And it is aflame. In blue! The color of rock! On the front you’ve got a nice little pick. Aflame as well, obviously. The axe not your thing? My apologies, Mr. Rick Allen, how about the flaming drums? On the front is…well, another picture of a drum. I guess a random stick would be weird. My favorite part that was weirdly omitted from the online version? “Rockin’ hoodies let him show a little attitude.” Key word- “little.” Now get back inside and sort your socks.

Up next we’ve got some Laughing Crazy Critters. And yes, they’ve actually copyrighted that phrase- so back off. There’s a dog and a monkey…and they are CRAZY. Ha Ha Ha, they are shown as saying. “You can’t help but join in with these merry animals.” Really? I don’t need any more compulsion in my life, thanks. Also- “A great pick-me-up-gift for anyone who could use a laugh.” While it’s nice to help friends who are down in the dumps, if I ever approach you with a wiggling stuffed animal that will force you to laugh (Ha Ha Ha), I give you full permission to hit me with it. “But Keely,” you implore. “Some people like animals that bring a chuckle.” Check out the product video. See if it brings anything but confusion, crazy or otherwise.

Then we’ve got the 40″ Lighted Stars. Innocuous enough, if you can get over the fact that you’ve got three mammoth glowy stars on your front porch. Which, nicely enough, I can. What really sells this one for me is the non-pictured phrase (why are they making me do all the work?)- “Holiday cheer no one can overlook.” ACKNOWLEDGE MY FESTIVITY.

On to the Plush Turtle Ball Pit. This is a stuffed turtle with a gaping hole in its back.
Crinkle, crinkle, it says happily, or so they’d have you believe. It’s for babies and toddlers, obviously, and I adore the fact that the instructions tell you to “sit your baby inside the Turtle Activity Bag’s soft shell and fill it with…25 play balls.” Yeah, when I was little that was called being buried alive. Bonus feature= the balls can be “pushed through a special hole in the turtle’s shell.” Nope! No thank you! No special hole playing, here! Also, despite your claim that my infant will love to throw the balls and/or “roll around in them,” I highly doubt that this will bring “hours of fun.” Maybe a good twenty seconds before she realizes she can roll out of it. Unless I’ve covered her with balls.

Next is the 10 Piece Cleaning Trolly with Working Vacuum. Now, aside from the fact that you’re essentially paying for cleaning supplies for your kid (Rags and a pail? Really?), the kicker is that the working vacuum comes with polyfoam pellets for your child to suction up. Let’s be clear here: if and when Nora gets her own vacuum, it will be called a DustBuster and we won’t have to invent messes of which she shall clean. And while I’m all for playing house n’ babies’ and laundry…this is downright janitorial. You can almost see the weariness in her eyes, the long nights, the no-good bum who skipped town and left her in this sitch…

I bet she wishes she had owned a Guard Your I.D. Stamp, back in those days when she was flush with cash. This handy tool allows you to- instead of troublesome shredding- simply stamp and ink and do mini art projects over any worthwhile information. Now this kinda seems akin to the workload of pushing paper through a machine, but it could be rather fun. Plus- and this is where it trumps a shredder- I’m able to “carry it in [my] purse while traveling.” Phew. That would have saved me literally a minute of bothersome paper-dealin’ this past week. But you know what else fits in a purse? A Sharpie.

Oh, it’s time to get creepy. Thank you, La Newborn Real Life Doll Set, for filling that niche in this catalog. Not only will “little girls love playing Mommy” (not even touching that one today), but this little beastie features “soft skin,” a “baby nursery scent” (I guarantee that a real nursery scent would dissuade even the most motherly of little girls) and has been “designed to capture the experience of a newborn’s first few days of life.” Again, really? Because- and I loved becoming a mother- the first few days are the scariest, most overwhelming and rather painful for all involved. Does the baby need to eat every fifteen minutes? Are the nurses checking your milk output with military precision? Are they weighing her and threatening to bring her to the nursery if her latch doesn’t improve? No..? So by “first few days of life,” you mean…she feels soft? I cry False.

And- though I could go on for each page of this epic catalog- I’ll leave you with the Knit Novelty Lounge Pants. For 9.95 you can have sweatpants featuring “realistic designs.” Instead of relaxing with your favorite (yet constricting!) pair of faded jeans, these products allow you to wear sweats that look like “fun pairs of pants[!]” in such styles as denim and CHAPS. You know, when you’re home on a Saturday and can’t find your COMFY CHAPS? Fake belt buckle and pretend back pockets aside, we’re one or two accessories away from being a Village Person.

Enough of this. I have real work to do. After I put on my loungiest of outfits and fish Nora out from her ball pit, it’s time to start decorating for the holidays. After we protect our I.D.s, invent messes and smell her nursery.

Ha Ha Ha.



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