If you’re like me, there’s nothing you like better than being stuffed with 200 other indiscriminately chosen and indiscriminately processed meat bits into a sausage casing made of aluminum before being sent rocketing for hours five miles above the earth, your only respite the occasional sneering glance of an aging, plasticine porter who should have retired back when they handed out real meals and not peanuts by-the-piece.

And by the way, do you know how every time you get on a plane there’s a seat open next to you and it stays open right up till the moment the cabin door is going to shut for good, and then you see some fat guy waddling down the aisle and you wince, knowing exactly what happens next and then it does?
That guy is me. So shut up and stop complaining.

Think about my feelings for once, why don’t you?

Anyway, at that point the only thing you can do if you don’t have electronic gewgaws to keep you mindlessly entertained is to 1) drink grossly overpriced alcoholic beverages or 2) flip through the magazines or 3) read a book. But let’s be honest about that third one: who among us, really, is likely to do that?

I always regard this as a multiple choice test, and therefore choose multiply: 1) and 2). My particular favorite is Heineken, which has the highest alcohol content of any of the available beers. (Q: who pays $5 for a lite? A: That wussy who sat in my umbra and penumbra on that flight from Miami to Seattle a few weeks back. That’s who.)

For the discriminating shopper
I also like the Sky Mall magazine because it is mostly pictures, and furthermore mostly pictures of stuff that no one on earth could possibly need, which is why they call them luxury items for the sophisticated shopper, or persons with refined taste, like the fellow who needs a Cherrywood Luxury Watch Storage Case (I’m not only not making this up, I’m not making up the capitalization) to store in comfort eleven watches at a time. Fortunately, the box is an Exclusive EURO Design, which helps to explain why it fetches $89.95.

Me, I think they may just be angling for those sad sacks who immediately upon entering a hotel room suddenly become princesses seeking peas just so they’ll have something to complain about.

Anyway, as it happens, Sky Mall, in addition to serving as an outlet for “Protein Ketchup” and DVDs to help you train your cat to use the commode, also provides hours of reading pleasure, mostly to pick up on the oddly entertaining incompetencies of the people who write it. For example, the marketing staff at Casio who in selling their new “Signature Series” of projectors invite you in 60-point type to “Lamp Free and Save.”

I place most of the blame on Christine Aguilera (I told you, I’m not making this up), who in addition to having the largest personal collection of inflatible pillows in the world (OK, I made that up, except for the misspelling of inflatable), is the president of Sky Mall.

What customers say
In the latest edition Christine tells us that she loves hearing what customers think of their products. She thought we might too.

Certainly, I do.

For example, “Pilot from Ohio” says he loves Sky Mall’s Fruitasia Fruits and & Veggie Shots, noting “Each vile is just under 3 ounces so it meets that requirement of the TSA.” That certainly answered my question, which was: Exactly, to the nearest ounce, how vile is it?
“Fathead” wrote to Ms. Aguilera to say that the “iBeats by Dr. Dre” are the best headphones he’s ever owned, and I think we can take that recommendation seriously based on the fitting difficulties alone.

But that is nothing when compared to the Gluten-free solutions for healthy families! produced by NoGil, which are endorsed by “TV personality and NY Times Best Selling Author; Elisabeth Hasselbeck,” who is so important she has reserved the right to demand the use of a semicolon before every mention of her name.

The Queen Essential EZ Bed, once viewed in a catalog by Elizabeth Regina herself, is said to be “Easy to open, close and adjust to just the right firmness.” This is said by someone who signs himself, “Supply, NC,” which certainly calls into question his objectivity.

The city of “Atlanta, GA” provides a stirring encomium for the “Comfy Couch Dog Bed,” in which the magisterial “Tuddles” is pictured reclining, as dreamy as a last-days resident of an opium den.

The city of Atlanta is unrestrained in its praise, saying “…truly a quality product. I wish I could find a sofa as comfortable for myself.”

We wish so too, Atlanta, but where would Valdosta sleep?

For $499 one can also purchase a “Luxury Pet Resident,” replete (and who wants anything that is less than replete?) with “solid hardwood with integrated roller shades, PVC tray, and plush foam mattress,” making it the most comfy and expensive cage in the world. “I wish I could find a sofa as comfortable for myself,” the City of Atlanta should have said.

Dr. Arnold Ross, who is Board Certified in Podiatric Biomechanics, says his new “Gravity Defyer” shoes, which feature a “Versoshock Reverse Trampoline Sole” are “such high quality shoes, I even wear them myself.”

High praise indeed. Moreover, Dr. Ross prizes your confidentiality as much as he does his feet, promising “you can try Gravity Defyer’s pain relieving footwear in the privacy of your own home,” thus ensuring none of those embarrassing moments that result when you find yourself drifting helplessly through the private airspace of someone else’s home.
Sears, the appliance giant, is also represented with a fine line of “Lab Created Ruby & White Sapphire Pave Heart Pendants,” which in less classy catalogs are less classily called plastic shiny bits.

To sleep, perchance

Anyway, that brings us through page 16 or so, and I’m now growing weary. Perhaps a nap is due, or as I like to call them, a light descent into a hellish half-world into which regularly intrudes the shrill voice of our captain reminding us how pleased he and the rest of the crew are that we have placed ourselves in this predicament for their benefit.

And, of course, further punctuated by the occasional colon-trembling 500-mile-an-hour-plus adventure in bumpy air.
Would that I had purchased one of “Dr. Robert’s Deluxe Self-Medicating Kits,” which “Now Features a Fat and Sassy Dose of Demerol,” which is “Capable of Solving All Your Problems, At Least Temporarily ™.”
I would look in the Sky Mall mag for one of Dr. Robert’s magic bullets, but I know I needn’t bother. As I mentioned previously, they only sell stuff that no one on earth could possibly need.

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