The Observer – February 2017

By Jim Feldman

I am an addict – to catalogs, that is.

I have to admit that I love catalogs. I order from them frequently. I like looking forward to getting something in the mail other than advertisements and bills. I was taught in grade school how to write a “friendly letter, ” but no one writes them anymore. We send e-mails, tweets, etc.

There is one catalog that I order shirts from. I can’t find the kind of sports shirts I like in a regular store. I like a shirt with a square bottom that doesn’t need to be tucked in and also has two breast pockets without buttons. I also get very comfortable lounge trousers from this catalog.

Moreover, they give you free gifts – usually junk but occasionally something really good like a flashlight I got recently with a couple of shirts. Okay, I admit it was the flashlight that attracted me. It was just the kind I had been trying to find for quite a while. The shirts are fine, too.

I have, on occasion, ordered things I knew I wouldn’t keep just to see what they were like. For example, I saw a smart watch advertised in a catalog that could take still photos and videos and also make audio recordings. I told one of my millennial grandkids about it, and he advised against it because it would be hideously difficult to operate.

Well, I ordered it anyhow and guessed what? There was no way I could get the thing to work. But I had the fun of ordering it and looking at it in person. Of course, I sent it back.

A while ago I ordered a few things from a catalog that seemed to be useful. One of them was a device you could use to support your back in bed while watching television. It didn’t do much for my back, so I gave it to the Treasure Chest along with a few other items I couldn’t use but might be fine for other people.

I get catalogs from travel companies, and I love looking at them, but I can’t arrange travel on my own anymore. If I take a trip, it will be arranged by our excellent Riderwood trip coordinator, Janet Birchfield. I need full service these days.

I recently got a catalog from a travel company my late wife and I used for many years. It offered a trip to Antarctica. I was tempted. That is the one continent I have never set foot on. The ad said you needed a doctor’s certificate of fitness – and be able to trek at least three miles over uneven ground in snow and ice. I know my Riderwood doctor wouldn’t “OK” me for that. So it’s never is going to happen.

By the way, did you know that being on a catalog mailing list is the surest way to achieve immortality? Try as you might, you can’t get your name off them.

Observer says: I’ve reached the age where “happy hour” is a nap.

Send brief anecdotes to or put a note in my cubby, VP 118, Village Square.


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