I know, it’s late, but I’m going to do my Christmas shopping through a catalog. Those who, like me, count themselves among the elite, sociologically, economically, culturally, and of course astrologically, will know the catalog of which I speak. In a word, and a very good word it is, I speak of Orvis.
This year’s Orvis catalog guarantees delivery to their high-class clientele if they receive their orders by December 20. This gives me just less than an hour and a half to send in my order if I am to finagle my guaranteed delivery.
My spouse has just called my attention to the fact that Orvis simply guarantees a delivery but doesn’t guarantee that delivery by Christmas. Oh? I say. Is that tidbit of any moment to me? She says yes, but. You don’t mind, she goes on, if your gift to me arrives too late for Christmas? Aha! I say. This is my gift to myself, and I go on to point out that the catalog I hold in my hand is for me, if the phrase “Gifts for Men” has any meaning. Besides, I say as I launch my search for self-gratification by going directly to page 6, I won’t be needing this canoe until May at the earliest. And I show her the picture. She glances at the picture but immediately points to the fine print, which shows that this 16-foot long masterwork can be had for $1,200. No problem, is my retort, but before I can point out to her that we count ourselves among the elite, economically, she huffs herself out of the room, uttering a curse followed by a snort. I can hear her mutter words to the effect that I’m not even a fisherman.
Ignoring her minor tantrum, I continue to page through the dreamworld in search of a more modest gift. On the very next page I find it: a handpainted canoe paddle, which can be had for only $498. With what I must admit is a bit of bravado, I call after my spouse with this news, only to discover that she has just left the house.
Okay, I tell myself, I see her point. A paddle without a canoe is as useless as – and here I render one of her favorite quotes – a husband without a wife.
I continued flipping the pages. On page 12 I am enthralled by a picture featuring a pair of ducks. These items are crafted by Colorado artist Tim Bergren from “reclaimed Rocky Mountain homestead fence posts.” A large ducklike fencepost will run you only $239. A small or medium one will run you less, but as a member of the elite can I bear the thought of going for anything less than a large one? Colorado artist! Reclaimed Rocky Mountain homestead fence post! It would make my culturally elite spouse so proud!
Two pages hence I encounter a gift even more auspicious: completely handmade feather ties! And brackish feather ties at that! They come in both bow and neck varieties, with the bow available in Royal Wulff, eddy, chukka, guinea fowl, pheasant, and green pond, and the necktie available in the latter two. Whatever your choice, the cost is minimal: $195 a tie. I drool. I can hardly wait to show these choices to my spouse (did I mention that she fancies herself as among the culturally elite?).
Another two pages and I find the finest of all these gifts: pint glasses, emblazoned with the wisdom of the ancients (Plato or Aristotle, perhaps King David; I can’t be sure): “It’s not really drinking alone if … the dog is home.” A set of four will set you back a mere $59.
Wondering when, or even whether, my spouse will come home, I call my three best friends and invite them and their hounds over for a fine philosophical chat.