Skymall – a little hope in a sea of gloom

The U-Watch Drain Cap

(Originally published July 20, 2011)

I traveled today from Phoenix to Chattanooga for client work. The trip went smoothly from Phoenix to Charlotte, but then things fell apart. The plane to Chattanooga left Lexington late, the voice over the public address system said, but the delay would be only a half hour.

An hour later, still sitting at the gate, the voice said our plane had landed and would materialize shortly. About 15 minutes later, the voice instructed us to change gates, explaining that the plane at our gate was now going to Milwaukee.

So, like a band of refugees, we trudged three gates down, only to be told that our substitute plane would be delayed a while for fueling. Oh, and by the way, the lavatory was out of order, so it would be a good idea to take care of any excretory system issues before boarding. (My words, not the voice’s.)

It was enough to shake one’s faith in good old-fashioned American efficiency and know-how. And then, belted in to the lavatory-challenged plane and too tired to concentrate on anything of substance, I started flipping through the SkyMall catalog. You can see the online version here.

The catalog shows how brainpower can overcome life’s little challenges and frustrations. Are you an urbanite who’d rather sleep in on Saturday than get the dog out for a bladder-relieving walk? No problem. For as little as $224.99, you can own the Porch Potty, the Self-Rinsing Grass Patch That Apartment and Condo Dogs Love.

Are you plagued with odor- and bacteria-ridden shoes? For $99.99, the shUVvee Shoe Sanitizer can fix your problem with ultraviolet light that kills germs and fungus.

My favorite, though – the one I wish I had thought of – is the U-Watch Drain Cap. It’s inexpensive – just $9.99 for one or $18.99 for two – and it’s ingenious. You know how your sink drain gets plugged with hair, or how you sometimes drop something like an expensive ring down the drain? Until now, your choice has been to grab a pipe wrench or call a plumber. With the U-Watch Drain Cap, you just unscrew a cap at the bottom of the J-Bend, retrieve whatever needs retrieving, replace the cap and go on about your day. Brilliant!

So, next time you feel despondent about America, turn to SkyMall. Your faith in Yankee ingenuity will be restored.

(And if this blog entry seems a little heavy on bathroom items and excretory concerns, cut me some slack. It’s just a side effect of dealing with a lavatory-challenged plane.)

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