I have a theory. No, really. This is a good one. Trust me.
I've decided that Sky Mall has tapped into a marketing technique that is only available to a few vendors. Mind Control.
Before you doubt me, think about it.
You know that scene in A Clockwork Orange where Malcom McDowell was strapped to a chair with his eyes held open while violent images were flashed in front of him repeatedly. Okay, so I know that he developed an aversion to violence, but I think the Sky Mall works the other way.
Instead of being repulsed by horrible images, we are lulled into a state of languid namaste by a combination of white noise, five dollar beers, and lack of movement.
Being strapped to an airplane seat for many hours makes us completely vulnerable to whatever strange mind tricks anyone has in store for us. All of this culminates in a general state of sensory deprivation that renders us helpless.
We're sitting ducks.
An enormous percentage of us will eventually turn to the Duty Free and Sky Mall to help pass the time.
The problem with the Duty Free catalogue is that it's too short. Just as we're about to drink the Kool-Aid, it's over. Sky Mall, on the other hand, is roughly the size of the Vogue September issue. Or a smallish dictionary.
And it's not just the size that matters.
It's the progression.
First, they warm you up to the whole idea of mind control by featuring a game that you play with your brainwaves.
So, now you're already thinking about how cool telekinesis is and how you'll be the hit of every party once you learn to operate a corkscrew with your mind. You're so absorbed in the fantasy of telekinetically bitch-slapping the annoying guy from work from across the room that you don't even notice that with every page you flip, you're gradually losing perspective of what is and isn't a necessary component of a happy, fulfilled existence.
Not that the ping pong ball gun isn't cool, but anyone who's been to Bangkok knows that YOU DON'T NEED A GUN TO SHOOT PING PONG BALLS. (And if you don't know what I mean, a quick Google search should clear that up for you.) Really, ladies, a little dedication and practice could save you twenty dollars and the shipping costs.
About four hours into our last Tokyo-United States flight, Sky Mall convinced me that perhaps my son's education in the particulars of Punjabi cage matches was seriously lacking. How can he be expected to recreate his favorite matches if he doesn't even understand the basics? Enter the Punjabi Prison Match Ring- a delightful gift for all occasions.
What I don't understand is this, are you supposed to fight or escape?
OR is the idea to keep your opponent from escaping? How am I supposed to use this toy during a special parenting moment if I don't even understand how to guide my child's play?
Before I could completely freak over my Punjabi-related parenting deficiencies, a quick flip of a page allowed the great minds at Sky Mall to usher me out of the stressful world of toys
and into a blissful home decorating trance. I instantly felt calmer and was able to embrace the fact that everything I thought I knew about decorating was completely off base.
See how they do that? Halfway through the catalogue and I'm totally in. I don't just want this. I need colored lights in my showerhead.
You know what's really hysterical?
When you go through the metal detector at the airport and they can't figure out why you keep beeping. So, you double-check and make sure your keys and your change are out of your pockets,
but you still keep beeping, so they get out the little wand and scan your whole body.
I LOVE THAT!
The TSA guy laughs.
It's just all-around good fun. I'm almost disappointed when that doesn't happen.
But I'm in luck.
With stainless steel fibers in my wallet, I'm guaranteed to set off every metal detector in every single aiport I go into all summer long.
In all the uproarius fun, I could almost forget that the whole point of this wallet is to prevent identity theft, because apparently today's thieves can steal your information from inside your pocket.
Anyway, about five, maybe six hours into a twelve hour flight,
these things become essential to my well-being.
Things don't get ugly until about hour eight, which is when I'm ready to swipe my credit card through that little phone on the back of the seat and start ordering things to be delivered to our house.
It doesn't help that I don't really remember ordering most of these things. I only remember an intense sense of longing followed by deep tranquility and peaceful sleep.
Clearly, this is not my fault.
Sky Mall gradually pulled me in, hooking me with moderately useful items for which I could genuinely find a place in my life. Once I started, I found that anything could be useful,
or at least interesting. Especially the giant Yedi. No one is going to break into the house with the mutant ape man in the backyard.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.