WHAT LEXINGTON NEEDS, by Richard Garrett
July 1991 Ace
I received a catalogue in the mail today. I receive a lot of catalogues. Though I seldom order anything from them, they keep coming. Maybe its because the people that do catalogues know that I’m my mother’s son. She has received and kept every catalogue ever printed and has ordered from most of them.
I get one almost once a week, for example, from American Express. I haven’t ordered anything from them in 9 years but they send me all the catalogues that they print anyway. Occasionally, I get one from J. Peterman, but not once a week. His seems to come when I start day-dreaming about cowboy dusters and 100% cotton night shirts. Or maybe I start day-dreaming about those things after I get his catalogue.
Now, catalogues are useful things, probably everyone should have a couple around for when they’ve read every book on the shelf and all of those back issues of The New Yorker and ACE. But you probably shouldn’t keep them for longer than say a month, because by then, they’ll be out of what you want — or out of business — anyway. If you send in your money and order from one of these out of date catalogues, you can bet you won’t see it again until Lexington gets a consumer affairs reporter on one of our TV stations. Aha, you say, that’s what he thinks Lexington needs, a consumer affairs reporter. But no, that’s not it. For all I know we might already have one, or even two.
No, what Lexington needs is a catalogue. One designed to sell “at discount and in limited quantities so hurry and place your order now before they’re all gone” — a catalogue that would offer every item that we have in stock that we’ve not been able to move. Like the old Woolworth’s store downtown, or not far from there the Kentucky Theatre, or maybe all 100,000 of those IBM PC Jrs. that are rumored to be in a warehouse somewhere.
We could sell all of our overhead electric and telephone and cable lines to cities in England that have no overhead electric and telephone and cable lines. We could see all of our red lights to little towns that don’t have any traffic signals (nobody here uses them anyway).
We could sell Old Paris Pike so that we could build New Paris Pike. Then we could visit Old Paris Pike every once in a while in, say, Minnesota. We could sell all of the statuary around the courthouse so newspaper columnists wouldn’t have to count them every couple of years. We could sell all of that addition on the back of Cheapside Restaurant so that it could be like it was again.
We could sell all of the sample and used shoes at Chapman’s Shoe Doctor so that when we go in after lunch we wouldn’t have the vague notion that some of them look like they were on our own feet not long ago. We could sell all of those McAlpin’s ads in the Herald Leader so that pages three, four, and five could have news, or at least maybe advertisements for our catalogue.
Anyway, that’s what I think Lexington needs. A real good, real comprehensive catalogue. And oh yeah, one last thing. Our catalogue could sell all of the catalogues that my mother has hoarded all of these years. Then there would be lots of work for consumer affairs reporters!