You Know You're Aging When: Catalog Edition

4 years ago

Whenever I go to my parents' house, I love to look through their catalogs. They have the usual Land's End and Harry and David, but they also have a kitschy wonderland of "someone should invent that" products for seniors. (And I know they are for seniors because the catalog copy for a wrap rack says, "Remember when it was just waxed or foil? Now we have so many different wraps, and here's how to store them compactly." Also, their homepage has a drop-down just for dickies.) I am now getting the Miles Kimball catalog at my house because I made the mistake of ordering an outdoor food tent. I've recently discovered -- to my horror -- that the things I laughed about when I was eighteen now seem not so ridiculous, and I know the things I'm laughing at while 39 will probably seem like a darn tootin' good idea in thirty more years. What do you think of these products?

Clear Plastic Rainhat

I've always thought these things were so ridiculous. Then last weekend, I was at a baby shower at my neighbor's house during a thunderstorm. I was ready to go home, but it was still pouring. The 97-year-old family friend looked out the window, whipped out one of these rainbonnets, and strutted out to the car. I got soaked. In another thirty years, I could see myself sneaking this into my purse but only if no one I knew was going to be around or if I were guest starring on Deadliest Catch.

NEXT ITEM ⇒ Adjustable Neckrest

When I was in high school and saw a picture of the adjustable neckrest (I don't know if it was the same one, but the idea was the same), I thought to myself, "Self, can it ever really be that tiring to hold up one's own head?" Then I aged twenty years and got an Internet job that requires sitting and mousing all day and I realized, yes, stupid teenager, it CAN be that tiring to hold up your head all day.

NEXT ITEM ⇒ Magnetic Cowl Scarf

My neck hasn't gone turkey enough for one of these sassy and easy-to-close magnetic cowl scarves, but I, um, understand what they are for.

NEXT ITEM ⇒ Swivel Seat Cushion

Again, the youthful it-can't-possibly-be-that-hard ignorance with which I once regarded any device designed to help you get out of a car. I'm fine now normally, but I threw my back out shoveling snow a few winters ago and could've really used the swivel seat cushion as I discovered how you can't do jack shit without using your back muscles, especially getting in and out of two-door cars. This little lovely also comes in memory foam and turns all the way around, which makes it seem more like a sex toy than a device to help the elderly, but I think that's a different post.

I have no affiliation with Miles Kimball other than the catalog cracks me up. If you're a Miles Kimball virgin, please do check out the three separate pages of lawn goose outfits.


Will you admit to using products you once thought were patently ridiculous?

Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game & the deputy editor of Find more at

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