I despise air travel.
I appreciate the relative convenience and speed, but honestly, flying freaks me out. Someone who has lived most of her life inside her imagination should not be allowed to consider what-if scenarios, but I do, and so every minor, imagined anomaly is a catastrophe waiting to happen. It’s wearing on my nerves. Add to that the descending slope of quality in the general air travel experience, and it takes something I want really, really badly to get me on an airplane.
I traveled recently to the west coast for a little vacation with my sister to see some friends and to go to this amazing costume ball in Los Angeles. Super fun, I love LA, I love my sister, it takes too long to drive, yadda yadda I got on an airplane.
One thing I do is take comfort in little rituals. They may seem meaningless, but routine goes a long way toward calming me down. So every time I take a flight, while we’re waiting for takeoff and taxiing down the runway, I browse the Sky Mall catalog. Now, since I dislike flying so intensely, I don’t do it any more than absolutely necessary, which is to say not that often. Therefore, I didn’t really notice when the Sky Mall catalog made the transition from Overpriced Cool Toys For Bored Impractical Rich People to 112 Pages of Utterly Useless Junk. Am I the only one who missed this changeover?
To save you the trouble of combing through this catalog for the next awesome Star Wars toy from the now-defunct Sharper Image, I’ve collected for you here the cream of the Sky Mall crop, the Most Utterly Pointless Products You Could Waste Your Money On.
To be fair, there are occasional products in this magazine that could be appealing. But there are also a lot of doozies that, should they arrive on your doorstep, you might think were practical jokes. Some of this latter category include the following honorable mentions: the Luxury Watch Storage Case to display your dozens of wristwatches; the “Ballistic,” a “gravity-defying” shoe that propels the wearer forward and makes him or her seem two inches taller; the “Traveler’s Bedbug-Thwarting Sleeping Cocoon.”
But there are some products that even I, with my overactive imagination, can’t quite fathom real people actually wanting — or, perhaps more to the point, believing in.
Skincarewear Body Slimmers — Think Spanx, but filled with something called “Slimming Spray.” These undergarments, which come in four styles (Waist Slimmer, Thigh Slimmer, Capri, and Reversible Legging), purport to “slim, tone, firm, and rejuvenate” while you’re wearing them with “time release skincare technology.” I can’t give you more details because the catalog doesn’t provide them, although after your body slimmer has been worn and washed up to ten times, you need to spray it again with patented Slimming Spray. Last I checked, the way to slim, tone, and firm your body was through diet and exercise. Believe me, if there were a successful way around that, I would have found it by now!
Lots of Strange Yard Sculptures — This is an entire category, I’m afraid. Some of the statuary is whimsical or pretty (like the “Regal Peacock” garden statue, which actually is quite nice in the photo), but much of it is not. I can only imagine the nightmares my children would have if they poked up out of the water in their grandparents’ pool to find a “Snapping Swamp Gator” coming up from the deck. Or if creepiness isn’t your style, how about “Quenching a Big Thirst,” the sculptural fountain of a huge Saint Bernard on its hind legs drinking from your bird bath? The best, however, must be “The Peeing Boy of Brussels,” based on a French statue and fountain from four hundred years ago, because nothing says good taste and decorating sense like a cement toddler pissing into a half-shell bowl.
iGrow Laser Hair Rejuvenation System — A lot of the Sky Mall catalog real estate seems to be devoted toward products which help people deal with hair inadequacy. This is the most extraordinary product I’ve ever seen, though, even better than “Spray-On Hair,” which phenomenon I’m sure everyone remembers from the 90s. The iGrow is a helmet with little red lights on the inside and ear flap headphones that interface with your iPod or other MP3 player. The guarantee is that you’ll have thicker, fuller looking hair in weeks. And like most of the helpful products in the Sky Mall catalog, there is no explanation of the device beyond actual untouched photos of before and after scalps and people wearing the device while they do other mundane things around the house. This one is so silly I’m more concerned about the people who might buy it than I am about the product itself.
Carlashes — And finally, the pièce de resistance, something I would not have believed had I not seen it myself. False eyelashes for your car. They even come with crystal eyeliner in two colors: “diamond” or “pink crystal.” I think the picture of this one speaks for itself.
So next time you’re on an airplane and want to browse through something interesting to pass the anxious time between taxiing and altitude…bring a book.