What do corn, golf, scratch ‘n’ sniff, Utah and Catholicism have in common?

Barry Smith

Here’s the deal: When you’re a tough-as-nails, hard-boiled newspaper columnist, you’re constantly on the lookout for shattering world events and social wrongdoings upon which to comment.However, if you’re a columnist like me, then you spend your time digging stupid catalogs from the post office trash can, thinking you may write about them someday.Over the years I’ve built an impressive collection of such scrounged items. I keep them in a neatly catalogued heap labeled “My Office.” I’ve had some of them for a very long time, and have yet to write anything about them.Since I’m on a spring cleaning kick, it’s time to get rid of them. But before I toss them, I figure one little mention of some of the better ones is in order. So, let’s call today’s column:’If Barry has to clean his office, then you have to suffer, too (Part 1)’ “The World Of Corn – 2002” magazine, published by the National Corn Growers Association. How will I ever part with this invaluable reference tool? It’s chock full of corn statistics (25 percent of the U.S. crop acres harvested in 1995 was corn), corn facts (there are 3,500 different uses for corn products) and corn humor (OK, not really). Can’t wait ’til the 2006 edition comes out, as no doubt there have been some major advances in the world of corn. Adios, World Of Corn. Ralph Maltby’s GolfWorks Catalog. Emotionally stunted? Me? Probably, but when I read this catalog all I see is a double-entendre smorgasbord: Pro Sanded Oversized Woods, Grip Size and Shaft Butt Gauge, Shanked Ferrule for Woods (“Great as a guide for starting the whipping!”), Hydraulic Shaft Puller, Motorized Whipping Machine, Hand Held Shaft Dimpler, Shaft Extractor Kit, Pressurized Grip Remover … no wonder people love golf so much. So long, GolfWorks. “A Scratch And Sniff Utah” vacation pamphlet. The cover has a picture of freeway gridlock, with the words, “If You Can Still Smell Last Year’s Vacation …” Inside are two pictures that invite you to sniff “The fragrance of cedar forests spices the crisp evening air,” and “The scent of wild flowers.” I wonder if the Texas Feedlot Tourist Board has looked into this idea for their pamphlets?Farewell, fragrant Utah. The 2003 Directory of Catalogs. This is, as the name would imply, a catalog of catalogs. There are at least 500 catalogs listed in this catalog, some of which include: “Extreme Championship Wrestling,” “Quality Wicker and Rattan,” “Oriental Shopping Spree,” “Free Stuff For Aquarium Lovers,” “Ultimate Tanning Tools,” “Cross Stitcher Magazine” and “Faucet Outlet.” I’m holding out for a catalog of catalogs of catalogs …Good bye, catalog squared. Things You Never Knew Existed Catalog (Since 1914). Rather than rattle off a list of junk available in this catalog, like the Deluxe Portable Telephone Voice Changer, RealView Eyewear (Gives Depth Perception To TV and Movies), and the Electric Callus Remover, this entire concept can be summed up by mentioning one very special item and its description: Ponytail Cap-Instant Image Change! – “You’ll be surprised how many wild and crazy things you can get away with while wearing a cap with a 12-inch ponytail! One size fits all.”Sayonara, stupid catalog. “Raising Kids Who Don’t Smoke” pamphlet. An actual quote from the section on how to confront your kids about smoking if you, yourself, are a smoker: “I notice that you haven’t complained about my smoking lately. Why is that?” Seems like this belongs in the “Raising Kids Who Buy Their Own Damn Cigarettes Instead of Mooching Yours” pamphlet.Later, smoking pamphlet. Catholic Videos Catalog. Not content to offer videos that you won’t find on NetFlix, like “Close Encounters with the Beatitudes” and “Raising Your Children in an Ungodly World,” this catalog also features the funniest video-description sentence in the history of the English language: “Using Scripture, insanity and comedy, Keith addresses the serious issue of teenage sexual purity.”Still? Good riddance, Catholic videos. EROS Comix Catalog. Yes, another stupid catalog to clog up my space. This X-Rated comics catalog features such inky smut titles as “Bondage Girls At War,” “Horny Biker Slut” and “Disobedient Daisy.” Good riddance, comi … well, actually, I’d better hang on to this one for a while.