The One Step Ahead catalog came in the mail. I’d never heard of it. But apparently having a baby triggers a major demographic shift in the eyes of bulk mailers. I used to find my mailbox inundated with The Sharper Image and Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Now it’s freakin fliers from Buy Buy Baby and cord blood registration. You know you’ve entered a new tier of lameness when you long for different junk mail to recycle.
One Step Ahead is fascinating for its ability to simultaneously inspire ridicule and curiosity. Each page is a PhotoShopped masterpiece promising either limitless fun or an ingenious solution. Here’s a rundown of some standouts.
Totally Craptastic Merchandise Whose Very
Existence Is Proof Of Our Imminent Demise
No-Shock Head Protection Shield, $49.95 “Fits kids 8-20 months.” This is for parents who take the concept of “baby-proofing” a little too literally. If your kid is such a kamikaze that he needs a padded helmut – how do you know when it’s safe to remove?
ThumbGuard $74.95 Didn’t Kobe wear one of these during the playoffs two years ago? I hope that’s not the same hand this kid just learned to wipe with. I might get one for my son just to see how far he can hitchhike.
Water Baby Carrier, $79.95 This could be my favorite, for the creep-factor alone. But also for the model’s rack. It’s a mystery why she doesn’t just hold her baby. And of course, if she wades in above her boobs, that baby’s gonna need a snorkel.
Deluxe Secure Surround Play Yard $99.95 plus delivery 1. Insert baby. 2. Add toys. 3. Throw away the key and go enjoy the afternoon. Don’t think of it as a cage. Think of it as… okay it’s a cage. When I organize my MMA baby bouts, this will be their octagon. Only one baby gets out alive.
Palm Mitts $15.95 “Get A Grip On Slippery Babies.” Wow. Nothing else so effectively advertises your failure as a parent. If you’ve somehow managed to drop your slippery baby, the damage is already done. Just resolve to be really careful going forward. Starting… now. Whoops. Okay now.
Puddle Jumpers, $22.95 Here’s a swim floaty so humiliating, most women will recoil in horrid recognition of the poofy-arm bridesmaid/prom dress they thought died with the ‘80s. That kid’s not even swimming – he’s just playing pretend… “I get to be Judy Garland!”
Go-Pod Portable Activity Center, $49.95 How much mischief could a baby get into if released in that empty grassy field? That poor kid has less mobility than Sunny von Bülow. Hey lady, Free Mumia.
Bug Bam Insect Repelling Wristband and Grid, $6.96 & $7.95 Stop presses! They’ve finally developed magic amulets that ward off mosquitos. The 5”x5” grid promises to “work up to 300 feet away… reusable up to 100 hours.” Why has the lame-stream media not reported this? And how do you pause the Bug Bam’s effectiveness, so as not to use up your 100 hours?
I Secretly Kind Of Want These
Sippin’ Spouts 3-Pack $8.95 Hmm, they probably cost 11¢ to produce. But damn if I don’t want to go buy me a case of Poland Spring and convert each bottle into a sippy-cup. Just sayin.
Trampoline Pool, $99.95 Wait, now it’s a pool?… and now it’s a bouncer? Just try and stop me from buying this. I might get two, so my son can bounce his ass into the pool.
All of this consumerist crap kind of makes me miss SkyMall. In its own way, SkyMall was a precursor to the internet. Tucked away in your airplane seat-back, SkyMall brought novelty and invention to the confines of your seat. And if memory serves, it also allowed free phone calls.
While I was mesmerized by much of its contents, I could never pull the trigger on a purchase. So indulge me and use the comments section to confess any of your SkyMall purchases (or longings). And if you bought the Slippery Baby Mitts, I don’t want to know.