In The Sweet Buy And Buy

December 2, 2004

Every year I get 378 different catalogs that all promise "Stuff You Didn’t Know You Wanted!", but when I open them up it’s always same thing: Who buys this crap? Apparently nobody, because I never see the same things two years in a row. With that in mind, here’s my annual list of Things You Can Live Without:

For your children, or just the childish, or anyone who lives in a place where the only way to have a white Christmas is with spray paint and sheets, there’s Instant Snow. Well, it’s not really snow, it’s a special polymer that swells up when it comes in contact with water. Unlike real snow it’s re-usable, inedible, and doesn’t need to be kept in your freezer. It’s also really, really, really easy to sneak into school…assuming your teacher doesn’t think that white powder in your backpack is anthrax. Instant Snow is available in three different sizes: Stocking Filler (15 grams), Shovel (45 grams), and Blizzard (100 grams). Next year the company will offer a Get Out Of That Math Test size (one metric ton–but you have to tell them how much a metric ton is first). Also coming soon: Instant Yellow Snow so Floridians can practice for the Iditarod.

Want to watch the miracle of nature as it slowly rots and dies? The EcoSphere is perfect for you then. I started seeing these in catalogs about four years ago when they were advertised as self-contained aquaria that would live forever in indirect sunlight. Then they’d live up to five years. Then they had a life expectancy of three to six months. Now they’ve moved onto the web because I can’t find them in catalogs any more. Starting at just $79, the EcoSphere is perfect for the coal, oil, or paint industry executive on your holiday list. Give him an EcoSphere and let him think about what happens when toxic substances build up in a closed system.

For the Bluestocking on your holiday shopping list, rush out and buy "He’s Just Not That Into You : The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys" by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. On the other hand, if any woman you know actually thinks she needs to read this book, use the twenty bucks to buy a bottle of vodka, some olives, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra ice cream, and spend the evening reminding her that if he’s not that into her he’s the one who should be reading a self-help book.

If your mother is tired of cooking a turkey, gravy, all the side dishes, and dessert, or if you just hate using a pesky knife and fork for eating your holiday meals, then the Jones Soda Company has the ultimate product: the Jones Holiday Pack The soda flavors are Turkey & Gravy, Cranberry, Mashed Potato & Butter, Green Bean Casserole, and, of course, Fruitcake. The fruitcake soda is expected to never be opened, but will be passed around from one relative to another every year. Order this soon–supplies are limited and large quantities have already been bought for those reality shows where people are paid to consume really disgusting things.

For the deranged psychopath conspiracy nut on your holiday list, nothing goes over better than the new video game "JFK Reloaded", a game that allows you to be Lee Harvey Oswald. Makers of the game claim that it’s actually educational since points are awarded based on how accurately players can repeat Oswald’s own rifle shots, following the Warren Commission’s report of events. Sales are expected to pick up when the game makers release a version that also allowed players to be Jack Ruby, a further installment that allows players to be John Wilkes Booth, and a special add-on that allows players to shrink themselves to microscopic size and give Warren G. Harding a stroke by blasting blood vessels in his brain. The game’s makers are also said to be hard at work on an entirely different game which allows players to be Oliver Stone. The game’s objective is to put together an ensemble cast and make a historical epic that’s broad, sweeping, completely devoid of facts, and unbelievably boring.

And finally, for that person on your list who has everything…don’t get him anything. If he really has everything he should be giving some of it to you. But if you happen to be feeling generous, get him the new Smart Truck 3. Weighing in at 8,000 pounds, it’s perfect for the man who’s deeply insecure about the size of his spark plug. It’s also great for hauling large quantities of instant snow, a good way to convince the psychopathic conspiracy nut to move to his own mountain bunker (aluminum foil hat not included), and it makes a sweet gift for the bluestocking who feels that the brand name "Hummer" is too suggestive.

And finally, just remember the advice my Uncle Larry gave us the year he gave all the kids in the family BB guns: It’s all funny until somebody gets hurt…and then it’s hilarious.

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