Marolt: One person’s junk is another’s … junk

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

How about springing for a hand-crafted, officially-licensed stained glass tribute for your living room? It depends, right? It depends on what the stained glass is a tribute for. It depends on the cost. It depends on the colors, the size and whether or not it has built-in back lighting to provide perfect illumination, because it’s not a window. You’re supposed to hang it on the wall.

It’s something I saw in the Sunday paper. It’s the last newspaper anyone still wants. That’s a little ironic to me, since it’s substantial mostly because of the ads. What this tells me is that people like electronic news and advertisements they can haul to the garbage can.

Anyway, the stained glass monument they’re selling in a flyer between one touting pork roasts at half price and another for elliptical machines to square up fannies in just 20 minutes a day is orange and blue and white. The official Bronco head is in the center; holy radiant blasts of orange and blue shooting in all directions from an unseen source behind. The horse looks cross, or maybe just focused.

It comes in a beautiful mahogany-toned frame. It’s not clear if that means it’s wood, but who cares? The glass it holds is adorned with eight sparkling, hand-set faux jewels. Flip a switch and the nearly two-foot high and electrified monument to The Champions comes to life with brilliant effect over your end table offering up a bowl of chips and your favorite dips or maybe just a simple house plant on weekdays.

It’s a limited edition strictly restricted to 95 firing days (which answers our question about whether they are made of wood), over which we can only imagine how many of these beauties can be poured and extracted from the molds. If you can make one, you could probably make 25 million of them in those three months of production. Technically speaking, I suppose the production actually is limited – limited to demand. If you order it, they’ll fire one for you.

The whole shebang can be had for four convenient installments of $44.95 each plus $21.99 shipping, backed by the manufacturer’s 365-day money back guarantee, which isn’t spelled out in the ad, so it is left to your imagination to determine what that covers.

Ridiculous, right? Not everyone is a Broncos fan. Well, don’t sweat it. Another ad in the same Sunday paper offers something else for everyone else except those who believe the idea of building a wall between us and the Mexicans and outlawing Islam are strokes of genius. It’s a Barack and Michelle Obama tribute sculpture, nearly 11 inches tall! It’s obvious that the Danbury Mint is proud to honor the President and First Lady with a heartfelt and loving farewell in Mr. Obama’s last year in office; something that captures his composure and her grace for the grandkids to care nothing about.

The meticulous sculpting is set in front of a gleaming crystal backdrop inscribed with a moving tribute anchored on grit and an authentic wooden base. The entire thing can also be had for four easy installments; $34.70 each plus $9.80 shipping and handling. It’s enough to make me wish I was a shipper and handler.

While it’s easy to make fun of this crap designed to inflate household debt and test our limits for enduring clutter, I am kidding myself to think I am immune to the allure of irrational accumulation of stuff I absolutely don’t need, but in which I find odd comfort in being possessed by.

There is a bicycle in my garage that cost more than 27 Broncos stained glass tributes or 35 Obama table-top sculptures. It will be completely worn out in five years. Why would I buy a cheap two-wheeler when a ridiculously expensive one will do?

I justify by touting the health benefits of owning a precision-built bike, but that claim doesn’t hold up. If a weight lifter gets stronger by increasing the resistance of his movement, how does a cyclist get stronger by making his bike lighter? The truth is I like the sleek machine just because. If I wanted a more thorough workout in a lot less time and didn’t care what others thought, the answer would be a 60-pound lopper from Walmart.

I can hypocritically laugh at those who waste their money on ridiculous crap, or proclaim, “To each his own in siphoning joy from material goods.” Maybe the best advice is compromise. I could sell my bike and order a much less expensive Broncos stained glass tribute, then go for a jog.

Roger Marolt used to have a $400 driver in his golf bag, but that was a long time ago. It’s not even worth $20 now.


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