My daughter, Molly, and I fly together at least once a year to see our far-flung family in Portland, Oregon. The trip takes forever, especially since I tend to buy cheap tickets that require layovers in places like Phoenix, Denver, or, more often than not, Vegas Baby. So, with the extra two hours for security clearance and then the run from Gate A to Gate Z at any of the aforementioned airports, what should be a five-hour trip often takes nine or more.
By hour eight, we’re full of our complimentary soft drinks, pretzels, and Biscoff cookies; we’ve watched our little television sets and read our little books and we’ve snickered at the other flying weirdos making their way up and down the aisle. In addition, we’ve tried to eavesdrop on the couple in front of us who are fighting like the Sunnis and the Shiites, and we’ve poured over the electronic movable map, wondering why the front end of the little fake plane is in California while the back end is still in Arizona.
Hour eight is when we finally become miserable and punch drunk enough to pull the Sky Mall catalog from the seat pocket in front of us, all the while wondering just what type of people would actually purchase items they couldn't possibly need or even get any time soon, many of them quite expensive, while careening through the stratosphere. We then rank our favorites from the merely sublime to the outrageously ridiculous.
Below you will find my rankings from our last flight (with Molly's input), employing David Letterman’s reverse scale to indicate people's mile-high decision-making, veering headlong from bad to worse, or more likely, from drunk to drunker.
10. The Lord Byron Wooden Side Table (made of faux books) for $249. In addition , you can purchase a William Shakespeare Resin Sculptural Bust to go on top for $24.95. Who needs real books when you can have a side table made of giant fake ones,?
9. The Thomas Kinkade Pop-Up 6 Foot Christmas Tree for $199.96. Six foot tree pops up instantly and is pre-decorated with original artwork by Thomas Kinkade - This item manages to be easy to use and tacky at the very same time.
8. Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti Statue, captured in designer quality resin and hand-painted for startling realism. $98.95. This one is Molly's favorite. Startling realism in a Yeti? Seriously?
7. You Don’t Have to Hide this Litter Box - Our Hidden Litter Box looks like a real clay pot, complete with an attractive Artificial decorator Plant for $129.95. From the picture, it'd say the looking like a real clay pot isn't actually true. It looks more like one of those rubber things outside restaurant doors where last-minute smokers park their cigarette butts.
6. The Hollywood Cookie Diet for $19.99. “I am in the Marine Corps and I lost 10 pounds and 2 jacket sizes in 2 days.” Walter M., Beaufort, NC. The personal testimony says it all.
5. Electronic Feng Shui Compass for $199.99 Working with electromagnetic fields,this hand-held feng shui compass helps you find favorable energetic conditions at home or anywhere needed. Energetic conditions? What does that mean? I thought if I placed the head of my bed opposite my door, I'd be okay.
4. Your Names in the Sand for $39.99. Personalize your passion for the beach with one of these unique prints. This is a fake picture of fake people's feet in fake sand and you can add your own fake words in the middle of it . Why would you take a real photo of yourself and your loved ones on vacation when you can pay these people for a fake one? Plus, the feet are white. I guess if you are a person of color or if you tan well, you can pull out your crayons and fix that.
3. One Dozen Roses, Hand-dipped in 24 K Gold for $598.99 (Save $120). John Gotti is the only person I can think of who might actually buy these and I think he's in prison.
2. King Tutankhamen's Egyptian Throne Chair for $950. I don't think I need to add anything to this, other than assuring you it's not an original.
1. Potty Train Your Cat Faster than most People Can Potty Train their Kids – Three Step Cat Toilet Training System for $59.99. I ranked this number 1, not because it has to do with urination, and not because I don't like cats. In fact, as a cat lover, I understand the problem of the truly smelly sand box. I even understand deciding to buy something as stupid as this. What I can't understand is deciding to buy something as stupid as this while hurtling through space in a giant human-filled winged thermos on your way from Daytona to Dubuque.
Okay, you've seen my list. You now know how I feel about shopping at the Sky Mall. I do have to say, however, that on my last trip, I did find a cute step ladder than folds into a chair. It was only $149.99 and it's based on a really famous library chair belonging to Benjamin Franklin. If I can't have King Tut's chair, maybe I can have Ben Franklin's step ladder.
But I think I'll wait until the next time I fly to Portland to buy the really cute real replica of a Ben Franklin step ladder. It just seems to be the easiest way to do it. But I wonder: Will the flight attendant bring my chair/step ladder to me in mid-flight or will I have to wait until we land? I do hope it's mid-flight so I can use it to get my luggage out of the overhead bin as we taxi toward the terminal.