My Week 8 – Grumpiness and Mail Order Catalogue Weirdness

Friday: I am a very grumpy sick person and I know it.

I don’t get sick very often, and when I do, I often don’t get very sick. But there are times when I get really, really sick, and this is one of them. I’ve had laryngitis and a death-defying cough since Monday, and at a certain point, I realized that I’m not nice when I ‘m sick. I realized this at approximately 10:30 last night. I was watching TV, and waiting for something decent to come on when I saw a news clip of an American Republican member of Parliament, or whatever they call them down there, criticizing Barack Obama for a new immigration policy that offered amnesty to illegal aliens. He was yabbering on about how it would destroy American, at which point, I yelled, “Go screw yourself, stupid Republican!” and changed the channel. In retrospect, I think my sentiment was dead-on, but this goes to show that I’m just not myself. I don’t even know what a Republican is, particularly, except that they apparently don’t like immigrants. Are they like the Conservatives? Can someone clarify? But the fact that I yelled at the TV is somewhat alarming, especially since I always tell my grade nines that there’s no point in talking to the characters in movies since they can’t actually hear you. So at this point, I looked back over the last couple of days, and came to the conclusion that I must be very sick because I’m very grumpy:

• On Wednesday, I accused the cat of being a diva, and called her an “asshat” for using the litterbox in my bathroom. In fairness, I should point out that she has another, perfectly good litterbox downstairs, but she doesn’t like it as much as the one which is situated in the room next to where I SLEEP. Anyway, she came into the bathroom, and sat and stared at me until I looked and realized the litterbox needed to be scooped, which I did. The second, the very SECOND it was clean, she jumped in and took a fresh dump. Hence the name calling. She didn’t actually hear me though—she was too busy pretending the wall was made out of litter and if she scraped it hard enough, it would magically cover her poo. She does this most often at 3 o’clock in the morning, because who doesn’t love being awakened by the sound of a cat trying to dig her way to China?

• On Thursday, I managed to whack myself in the chest with a chalk brush (don’t ask—even I’M not sure how this happened), and then told the chalkbrush how much I hated it. “I hate you, stupid chalkbrush!” were my exact words, as I brushed chalk off myself, looking around to make sure none of my students had overheard me. They hadn’t (mostly because I have laryngitis and can’t speak above a whisper). Thank god, because how do I explain that one, especially in light of how I always tell them not to talk to the TV, and here I am cussing out a chalk brush?

• Earlier on Friday night, as I was washing my face, something fell out of my medicine cabinet, and my immediate response was “F*ck you! I’m sick of your sh*t!” I don’t even know WHAT fell out, but the epithet-laced response was most definitely out of proportion to the actual event, which tells me that yes, I am a very sick woman, and I need some rest.

The one saving grace is that I direct my illness-driven misery at mostly inanimate objects (except for the cat, and she agreed that yes, she is a diva, and that I’M an asshat for a not cleaning her litterbox out more regularly). Hopefully, I’ll recover from the Black Death soon, and the items in my medicine cabinet can rest easy. But the Republicans can still go screw themselves.

Wednesday: I wonder who exactly buys things from mail-order catalogues.

On occasion, we get mail order catalogues delivered to our house. There’s Added Touch, which features jewellery, clothes, and furniture. Why would I order anything from them, when I can buy the same things from actual stores, without having to pay shipping? We also get Signals, offering logic games and clever T-shirts with saying like “Don’t trust atoms—they make up everything” on them, and Bits and Pieces, which sells really cheap plastic garden ornaments and jigsaw puzzles of kitty cats and thatched-roof cottages. But the icing on the mail-order cake came on Wednesday, when we got, for the first time, a catalogue called Hammacher Schlemmer, which I think is German for “sh*t that you’ll never buy because it’s stupid and way too expensive”. Aside from the assorted remote control spy drones, the ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, and the washable cashmere bathrobe (only $399.95), there were some really bizarre things available for purchase. Here are a few of my favourites:

Page 5: The Outdoor Heated Cat Shelter, $129.95. It’s a tiny doghouse for cats, which comes with a heated floor. It’s waterproof and can be plugged into any grounded electrical outlet. This, to me, is a paradox. You don’t like your cat enough to let it in the house when it’s cold or wet out, but you’ll pay $130.00 for a cathouse? Do you love your cat or hate it? Maybe it’s like Schrodinger’s cat—you simultaneously love AND hate it—either way, you probably shouldn’t have a cat.

Page 60: The Faux Fireplace, $69.95. The description of this item reads: “The removable fireplace decal that instills instant ski lodge coziness to a room otherwise devoid of winter’s most heart-warming tradition.” While the prose is lovely, let’s be clear—it’s a STICKER that looks like a fireplace. You just paid seventy bucks for a giant sticker, friend. It will not warm your room. The flames don’t move. The picture in the catalogue is of a man sitting in a wingchair, staring at the fireplace. Let’s be realistic—he’s staring at the wall. For the same money, you could buy a space heater, if it’s warmth you’re looking for, or for another hundred bucks, you could go to Canadian Tire and buy an electric fireplace with fake flames that actually move. If I was ever going to stick anything on my wall, it would be a life-size Johnny Depp. (I asked Ken if he was OK with that, and he said only if he got a life-size sticker of someone too, but he wouldn’t tell me who because he “didn’t want to be judged”).

Page 64: The Cyclist’s Virtual Safety Lane, $39.95. This ingenious invention consists of two laser beams that you mount on your bicycle to provide motorists a “visual indicator of a cyclist’s riding width”. This is also known as the “target zone”. Don’t people on bicycles already have enough problems with inconsiderate car drivers almost knocking them off their bikes without providing them a clear indication of exactly where you have to drive to do that? I admit, I’m not a huge fan of fanatical cyclists who zip around in their fake sponsorship outfits and torpedo helmets (I went through a post-Olympic phase of yelling “Where’s the peloton?!” out my car window when Ken and I would pass one of them on the road), but still, I don’t like to see anyone get hurt. And neither does Hammacher Sledgehammer, because on page 71, for an additional $199.95, you can also get a Bicycle Rear View Camera, just so you can see who’s bearing down on you and the rest of the peloton.

Finally, the most incredible and most useless item in the catalogue can be found on page 59. For the low, low price of only $345,000 (yes, over a third of a MILLION dollars), you can order a 6 foot tall robot. In the catalogue, it’s described as a “Celebrity Robot Avatar”, and has apparently appeared in movies, TV shows, and music videos. As a purveyor of pop culture myself, I have never seen this robot anywhere on screen. And just to clarify—it’s not actually a ROBOT. It’s a battery-powered, remote control metal can. It doesn’t do anything on its own. It’s controlled with “an intuitive wireless remote that is small enough to escape detection”. You can make it move forwards, backwards, and spin, as well as make it seem like it’s talking by speaking into a “discreet wireless microphone”. What kind of money do you have to make to spend $345,000 on a puppet? For 50 bucks, I’ll dress in a robot costume, come to your party, and have ACTUAL conversations with your guests. That’s right—I’m your robot butler, baby. Your swear-y, plague-ridden robot butler.

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