I recently received a strange catalog in the mail. It is suitably titled “Heartland America,” and I suppose it was sent to me, though it was addressed to Hugh Kurtler. I have been called worse. In any event it is 60 pages of “stuff” that the folks in Chaska, Minnesota think the average American simply cannot do without — things like shoes and boots, hand-held calculators, electric generators, infrared heaters, ice chests, and the like. Everything from soup to nuts, as they say — except it doesn’t carry either of those. What it does carry are “Brand Name Products at Discount Prices.” And if I act NOW I can get free shipping and by joining “the Club” I can get an additional 10% off. You can’t beat those deals! They even have a perky blonde sitting in her slip on a “Purple Passion Pillow” that promises to create the “perfect angle for deep penetration.” (I think they were going for
sex passion but stumbled over the alliteration. Maybe the catalog wasn’t supposed to come to me!)
Of special interest was the “175-lb crossbow” that promised to send the aluminum arrows at a speed of 240 miles per hour “to drop big game like never before.” (Funny, it didn’t look that heavy, but pictures can fool you, I suppose.) I also thought the cloth bag containing 147 “wheat pennies” for only $22.99 was intriguing. If I weren’t able to find any of the “treasure” in the pennies I could always take them to the bank and get $1.47 back. I doubt they will give me anything for the bag: it looks pretty cheap. I guess a sucker is born every minute.
But as though these items aren’t bad enough, and they do tend to give one pause, I found at least three items I can buy where I can “pack heat” without anyone knowing I have done so. Not only that, but I can also get a leather holder for my permit to carry a concealed weapon — complete with a metal badge that allows me to pass myself off as Sargent Friday (that’s for you old folks out there) or any other
game warden cop I might want to pretend I am at the moment. The item that especially caught my eye, however, was a belly band that promises me I will “look like an ordinary guy walking down the street! But in reality, [I’ll be] packing heat.” (Apparently their love of alliteration bleeds over into simple rhymes. They must be hiring out-of-work poets to write their catalog material.) It tells me that I can carry my concealed weapon — “ideal for small to medium frame semi-automatic pistols” –in a heavy-duty band that assures me of a “comfortable fit.” And that is only one of several such items, including a fanny pack that “looks like any other fanny pack but wait — it also packs heat.”
So this is what middle America thinks we want now: purple passion pillows, electronic gadgets, toys, crossbows, cheap clothing and foot wear — and places to hide our weapons. Has it really come to this? I ask you.