the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Halloween orange means cheese. Not the kind that comes in a brick, or as a wheel, or in individually wrapped slices that may at one time have been in the proximity of a dairy product. Halloween means cheese of an entirely different sort, as in cheaply manufactured yet heart-tuggingly tacky novelties. One thing the two kinds of cheese do have in common is that they are both likely to cause constipation.

It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a comic book – I believe they were under fifty cents last time I purchased one – but when I was a twisted tot, comic books were the source of All Things Cheese, by virtue of the ubiquitous ads. Let’s face it – no one’s ever gonna advertise Seamonkeys in Forbes. I never actually knew anybody who had ‘em, but that didn’t stop me from beggin’ Mom on several occasions to let me be the master of my own little colony of the Royalty of the Fishbowl (did you see the little crowns they wear? Royalty, I tell you, and I won’t be convinced otherwise by anything like facts).

The comic book ads that got the most attention in our house, though, were the full-page cheese splashes for the Johnson-Smith catalog. If you don’t know what I mean – and I pity you if you don’t – think X-Ray Specs, the crappy little drawing with the guy wearin’ these swirly glasses and seein’ the bones in his hand. Because, of course, nobody who bought these immediately tried to see through everyone else’s clothing. That would be wrong. Tardist, Timmy and I devoted entirely too much of our attention to all things Johnson-Smith. Naturally, the first time an order is placed from the pages of a comic book, the catalogues begin to arrive, and they never stop.

I was always allowed to peruse The Catalogue when Timmy and Tardist had already had a thorough look through its cheap little pages. It was always a thing of wonderment to pore over the latest edition, which generally didn’t vary much from the older edition. There was so much crap to be had, and so little time and money with which this crap could be had. The joy buzzers, the strobe lights, the plastic dog poop, the itching powder, the exploding cigarettes - there it was, gathered in one place for the delight of the child and the childish. For just a little of Mom and Dad’s hard-earned jack, one could have a tiny hovercraft, or a Phi Zappa Krappa poster, or a coffin bank with a hand that grabbed your change, or a “realistic-looking” ghost on a wire, because everyone would spot a fake ghost right off the bat.

Make no mistake, it was all junk. And the copywriters at Johson-Smith recognized that and embraced it like a happy drunk hugs everybody in the room before he wets himself. The most frequently used phrase in The Catalogues was, hands down, “GENUINE PLASTIC!” Not some shitty, false plastic. The real deal, baby. Even as kids we knew how hilarious that was, but it did not deter our lust for the shiny, useless trinkets that filled the pages.

Alas, when I checked Johnson-Smith's website, they have now split into several distinct catalogues/websites. I suppose the closest one to the spirit of the original is Things You Never Knew Existed, where you can find such heartwarming delights as Fart Guy, Scrolling Belt Buckle (and you know if I got one, the first thing I'd set it to say would be "Lick me"), Singing Bible Key Chain, and the leg lamp from Christmas Story.

Still, it's just not the same if it doesn't come from the back of a Richie Rich comic book.

14 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Susie said...

I thought you had fallen in the dumpster again! I enjoy cheap crap. Until it's time to put our toys away, then I get mad at myself for having too much of it. The leg lamp is something that I often try to find a good reason to buy. It is truly a thing of beauty -- a major award.

3:04 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love the cheesy Halloween costumes. of course, NOW I have no idea what I'm going to do with my Harriet Miers costume (costume consists of cheap wig-$2, wardrobe-$12.98, Wet-n-Wild uber-black eyeliner (40)-$68.

3:12 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger eclectic said...

At first, I thought the post title was "CheePenis." Which went along with the whole monkey thing so well that I'm loathe to let it go.

3:41 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

you gotta watch out for the cheap ones - they break under pressure.

7:15 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger Squirl said...

I remember you guys drooling over the Johnson-Smith catalogues. Genuine Plastic, gotta be the real deal.

7:25 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

ok, this has nothing to do with your post, and i don't want to tell Osgood how to do his job, but isn't the goialie supposed to stay oh, IN THE NET and maybe STOP THE PUCK once in a while?
wtf? i knew I could share here.

9:38 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger I'm not here. said...

Let's make with the Chee-penis!
Comes in all different sizes.
Great as gifts for in-laws, former bosses and that annoying neighbor down the street who calls the cops for the most minor of inconviences...
Wait, that's Chia-penis.
Ah, hell. Same difference.

10:22 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger Susie said...

Chia penis? Chi chi chi chia! I have never been able to choose between those damned Chia pets! Now, I KNOW which one I want. Thank you, Bucky and MoDis :)

11:19 PM, October 29, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

I had the Phi Zappa Crappa poster on the wall of my dorm room! Nothin classier than a pic of Frank on his throne gracing your living space!

Somehow the Dean of Students at the small Christian college I attended didn't have the same sense of interior design that I did. At the end of the semester, Frank and I were asked to seek our educations elswhere!

Yes, I heard you snort and chortle at the thought of the Great White Bear attending any size college with he word christian attached to it. Trust me when I tell you that you're not the first to react in such a manner!

1:58 AM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

whfropera - c'mon, I thoght Ozzie played a pretty good game, especially in the third period. Course, not that the chicken hawks are a really good test or anything!

1:01 AM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

oh yeah, I meant to ask where I can ifnd the catalogue with the Leg O Lamp from Christmas story? It would be the perfect item to set off Frank!

1:05 AM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

yeah, he made up for it in the 3rd - I posted that earlier in the game, but he has never really been able to pull off that popping in and out of the crease the way Hasek could. My take on it is that he should just stay in his office and let Holmstrom mind the door the way he alwys does.

7:20 AM, October 30, 2005  
Blogger Susie said...

greatwhitebear, go
here. They have everything from snowglobes with the leg lamp in them, to full-size floor lamps. It's a beautiful thang.

7:32 AM, October 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fra-gee-lay. Must be Italian!"

5:28 PM, November 01, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home