Hi There…

Well, jeez. Haven’t been here in about 76 years. Seems like I became less than enamored with blogging for quite some time. It just suddenly seemed so…self-indulgent?

Plus, I’ve had other things to be self- involved with. I’m a really self-indulgent guy at heart, and certainly no one-trick pony. I’m a very well-rounded self-indulgent pain in the ass to a wide variety of citizenry. Just ask ’em. They’ll likely say something nice about me initially, but with that sardonic ” you know and I know” smirk that can only mean one thing.

And what is that, you ask?

I certainly don’t know. Not a shred of a clue. I’m way too self-whatever to take notice, ¬†and cannot afford to sacrifice any ” me-time ” to an endeavor like that.

So… Mr. SI Poster Boy 2017 ( Self-Indulgent, not Sports Illustrated ) was online just this morning, invested in an odd little pastime that I’ve been toying with lately.

I’ve been perusing old Sears catalogs. Also some JC Penney and Montgomery Ward. I began by looking for an old guitar that I had as a kid in 1965 that my dad bought for me.

It was a Kay Vanguard that cost 69.95 with a vinyl cardboard case. They’re sometimes on EBay for roughly 700-800. This was my first electric guitar ( a very, very big deal ). My guitar teacher at the time made me re-string it with very heavy-gauge flat-wound strings, and it was all but impossible to play. Like trying to play ” Day Tripper” on a tennis racquet.

I never found it in the Sears catalogs. Turns out that my dad got it at a local retailer called Apex. Mine had two pickups, and the Sears version had only one, for 34.95.

Lest I forget to mention it; in the 60s’, the world was absolutely overrun with cheap, mass- produced mostly Japanese- made guitars. The British Invasion was at full speed, and any self- indulgent kid worth his salt was hammering their parents for a guitar. Any guitar.

So anyway. Back to the Sears catalog thing.

I fully get that this is an odd thing to do. But here’s why I really like it.

It was a pretty big event every year when the Sears catalog arrived in the mail, mainly because it meant that Christmas was on the horizon. Kids could start plotting and planning how to manipulate their parents into getting the cool stuff from the catalog. It probably didn’t work out all that often, but it was great to spend many hours going through the catalog. Very ” A Christmas Story”.

The catalogs themselves are/ were very distinctly recognizable. The very lightweight paper that still managed to print well, the layouts, colors, fonts… all went into creating the approximately 8-lb paper brick that would crash onto the front porch when tossed unceremoniously by a near-suicidal letter carrier. The catalog release was one of the biggest events in the USPS business year. Untold hundreds of thousands of them delivered by hand.

But the very coolest thing was the smell. They had a very distinct odor. To this day, I would bet very heavily on my ability to recognize a Sears catalog purely by scent in a blind test. And when I’m going through those old catalogs on a website… I swear that I can smell them. The imagery somehow triggers a smell memory. That’s why I like doing it. So that I can indulge in that small and barely discernable hallucination.

I suppose it’s because I’m actually dying, and this is just random electrical impulses firing off in my brain as I go. That’s OK, it’s still just fun. Or maybe I’m discovering a whole new uncharted level of self- indulgence. In that case, please feel free to try this at home…


While perusing today, I found what has to be one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen.

On page 233 of the 1946 Sears catalog, I found an ad promoting the apparently common idea at the time….that fur trappers could mail their raw pelts to Sears and receive not only fair market value for them, but use that value towards their Sears account if they wanted to. Sears would supply all necessary mailing materials and labeling…. so you could get the cool stuff in the catalog.

With the local Sears outlet here actually recently announcing its closing….maybe I should print that ad out and take it to the store with some road kill. Slap it up onto the counter and tell them I want to make a payment…







Published in: on August 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm  Comments (4)