Fill the void with a remote-controlled beverage system
It’s no doubt a mark of my innate stoicism that I have until this point lived mostly happily without the benefit of The Remote Controlled Beverage Buggy ™.
Fortunately the Sky Mall catalogue alerted me to the life-enhancing possibility of having liquid refreshments “secured” in a miniature dune buggy’s mounted drink holders and ferried from the fridge without me having to move a muscle aside from thumbing the console commands.
Candidly the catalogue does note the one potential flaw in this scheme, that the “willing accomplice is not included”. Luckily I am married so getting the Beverage Buggy restocked for frequent journeys back to the couch should prove no problem.
The Sky Mall catalogues and its equivalents are to be found in the seat pockets of many domestic and some international US flights.
I find them far more engrossing than the typical “Steel yourself for Wonderful Wollongong” inflight magazine or the more modest pamphlets hawking branded airline merchandise on Australian flights and the envy-inducing glossy booklets of eye-poppingly expensive duty free goods on international flights.
The US catalogues are reminiscent of the home shopping channel but you don’t have to sit through umpteen demonstrations and gushing endorsements of multi-use kitchen appliances.
With a few flicks of the page you can take in at your leisure The Upside Down Tomato Garden™ where “tomatoes ripen in the air (not on the ground) where they won’t rot” or The Tabletop Photo Studio™.
This consists of a translucent box with different backgrounds to display items to their best advantage while using little mounted lights and a tripod “to create studio-quality shots using your own camera”.
More enticing still is The Flying Alarm Clock™ that launches a rotor to hover in the room while the alarm sounds.
The alarm won’t cease until the rotor descends back to the clock “compelling even the most stubborn sleepers to get out of bed on time.”
Either that, I suppose, or be a good shot with some handy bedside anti-aircraft missile.
The thought of a real mall usually fills me with dread and instantly provokes a Pavlovian ache in my feet but browsing through the Sky Mall opens a previously unimagined vista of human possibility and enterprise.
What barbecue titan of the tongs wouldn’t salivate over a personalised branding iron to sear their initials onto that perfectly grilled bit of meat?
The Sky Mall informs me that those who have long suffered the ignominy of having a pipe outlet or some other eyesore sully their garden can now easily hide it beneath “a plastic replicated rock”.
You could even use a fake boulder to hide your solar powered mole repeller, except I suppose it would block the sun.
Other enticing outdoor accessories include the Airblown Inflatable Movie Screen™ and the frankly fantastic bumper boat inflatables for the pool, which are aquatic versions of fun fair bumper cars complete with propellers and steering wheels.
Though strangely I always thought it was preferable to keep pets off the furniture, one of the more impressive items in the catalogue is The Pet Ramp and Staircase™ that “unlike lesser pet staircases” turns either into steps or a ramp with “non slip carpeting that is soft on paws” to allow your dog to independently mount the sofa.
More useful from my perspective is the iwavecube ™ Portable Microwave , which is about a foot square warming device that means you can “forget all those trips to the kitchen or treks to the cafeteria”.
That is the beauty of the Sky Mall catalogue, it brings the realisation that what you might have previously considered the unavoidable mundane minutiae of existence, such as having to leave the couch to get a beverage, are in fact outrageous and unconscionable impositions on your lifestyle.
There is no inconvenience too small, no problem too trifling and no risk too improbable that it can’t be smoothed out by the profusion of invention and innovation on display in the Sky Mall.
Still there is the nagging thought that this might all just be a cavalcade of crap designed to relieve those who suffer the affliction of having too much money.
Moralists will bemoan the need to fill our life with stuff to compensate for the gnawing void at the centre of things.
Those of a Malthusian bent will worry about the squandering of the earth’s scarce resources on electronic scrolling licence plate messages or the caddie cooler drink dispenser, essentially a drink siphon disguised as a golf club.
But have these people seen the gun that shoots out marshmallows on page 43?
That’s really cool. I must get me one of those. I could fire it at my wife when she refuses to put the drinks into The Remote Controlled Beverage Buggy.
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