Cream of the Travel Mall Crop

I recently had occasion to travel by train. Of the many benefits of rail travel, perhaps chief among them, is the complimentary “Travel Mall” catalog included in each seat-back. Not only is this delightful periodical choc full of amazing gift ideas, but it has the following fortuitous message printed in all caps on the front cover:

“FREE COPY — TAKE IT. WE’LL REPLACE IT!”

Armed with this knowledge, I decided to take several days to peruse this book for the finest, most elegant, luxurious, and, above all else, understated gifts I could find. Please note that I do have a birthday coming up in short order. Let’s call this a wish list:

The Voice-Activated R2-D2 (p. 21): This boils down to one simple fact. I absolutely love my remote-controlled R2-D2, but I am sick and tired of having to press buttons anytime I want to hear a hilarious “BLEEP-boop” or a reassuring “Beep-BLEEP-boop-bop.”   That’s no longer an issue with this little miracle.   For under two hundred bucks, I can get an R2 unit that responds to my every command, so long as it’s one of the 40 commands that the machine understands.  My only concern is that the voice activation may make my in-home scene reenactments a bit trickier.   As a bonus, and according to its listing, R2 “can be set to detect motion, turning R2 into a room sentry that sounds an alarm when a secured area is invaded,” thereby either scaring off a potential burglar or giving him a reason to murder you on general principle.  This is the droid I’m looking for!  $199.95

The Battery Operated Briefcase Turntable (p. 22): Where do I begin with this monument to practicality?   I can’t count the number of times that I’ve found myself at an outdoor business meeting, record in one hand, briefcase in the other, conventional turntable duct-taped to my back, only to realize there’s not an AC outlet for miles.   Finally, we have a solution to this age-old problem.   A stylish hardwood case conceals both a battery-powered record player and two five-watt speakers.  Next time, you can bet your ass I will get that promotion.   $149.95

Passing the Bar Board Game (p. 55): Passing the Bar Exam is an intense, laborious, incredibly stressful experience for prospective attorneys (It wasn’t for me, but I’m referring here to real attorneys).   But once you’re done with those countless hours of preparation, followed by weeks and months of self-doubt, it’s all behind you forever, right?   WRONG! With the new “Passing the Bar” board game, attorneys and laymen alike can get a taste of the brutal pressure of a career-making (or breaking) test that determines whether you’ll be able to achieve your lifelong dreams of Beamer ownership and paying off that hundred grand in student load debt!   The game includes actual Multistate Bar Exam questions used on previous exams. The complete set with extra questions sells for a mere $119.99, once again proving that people who want to become lawyers are always willing to pay four or five dollars for a dollar’s worth of value (see, e.g., Tier II law school tuition rates).

20-Foot Tall Inflatable Rooftop Gorilla (p. 146): Yes. YES. Dear Lord . . . YES!   Say no more.  Really.  Stop talking.  Shhhh!  I don’t need to know why it’s a green gorilla.   I said be quiet!  I’m sold.  Can it go on my roof?  Check.  Is it a gorilla?  Check.   Is it inflatable?  Check.  Most importantly, is it twenty feet tall?  Check.  Where do I sign? $1,845.00

Easter Island Monolith Statue / Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti Statue (p. 177): Here’s what I’m thinking. I would like to get the six-foot-tall Easter Island head statue.  I would like to place that statue in my front yard.   With me so far?  Good.  My plan doesn’t end there.  I would then like to order eight-to-ten two-foot-tall “garden Yeti” to surround the Easter Island head in a mock worship scene.   Eventually, I’ll surround the ring of Yeti with an outer perimeter of garden gnomes, but that will probably wait until Christmas 2011.  $995 (statue) / $98.95 each (Yeti)

King Tut Life-Sized Egyptian Sarcophagus Cabinet (p. 178): Allow me to address all the obvious questions.   I will be getting this.   I will be removing the fourteen built-in storage shelves.   I will be sleeping in it.   $895

Pajama- or Robe-type Garments Designed to Capitalize on the Success of the Snuggie (p. All of them): Whether it’s the Hoodie-Footie or the Jammerz, these must-have articles are an essential piece of the wardrobe puzzle for any serious clotheshorse.   My personal favorite is the hooded Jumpin Jammerz with a sorority theme, but I’m not picky.  $Various

My expectations for this being the best birthday EVER are now sky(Mall) high!

Thanks, Travel Mall!!!

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