Monday, November 8, 2010

RE: (Humor) Who You Calling a Heifer?...catalogs are a perennial source of amusement...

Who You Calling a Heifer?

Heifers for the Holidays. It sounds like a “Jeopardy” category, doesn't it? “Heifers for the Holidays, for five hundred dollars, Alex.”

Until I became familiar with the organization that offers this program and how valuable it is, I was rather bemused to receive a catalog in the mail illustrated by what looks to be a woolly lamb with the words, Heifer International, emblazoned on the cover. I looked around to see if there were any cameras visible, it was such a laughable moment.

Having recently received the special “Holiday Edition” of this fine publication, I'm viewing an entirely different world than I've ever seen before. I have no reason to doubt their claim that this is, “The Most Important Gift Catalog in The World” is true, but what bothers me is WHY me? I do knit quite a bit, so I'm wondering if it's aimed at providing me with a direct supplier for yarn byproduct.

These days I am rather concerned that my mail has sunk to a new low. While I often grouse about junk mail, direct mail, and unsolicited mail, the latest is that I am receiving a plethora of catalogs which I have no recollection of requesting. It's bad enough that Victoria wants to tell me her secret or that Frederick encourages me to see what's up in Hollywood, but I find the latest animal kingdom offering to be just as much out of my league. Or out of my barnyard.

Upon opening the delightfully festooned red catalog I learned there are, indeed, “four easy ways to place my tax-deductible gift order.” Oh, good, because I hate it when I can't claim my livestock credit on my income taxes. Most entities request money for undisclosed reasons, sent to undisclosed people in undisclosed regions. Not so for Heifer International because for over half a century, HI has provided livestock and training to more than four million families around the world and they show you the “who” and “what” of it right there in the photo album that is their catalog. Won't my family be proud to count itself as number four million and one?

The festive campaign, Heifers for the Holidays, offers some fine choices: You can bestow the gift of an entire heifer for a mere five hundred bucks or you can share a heifer at the reduced rate of fifty bucks. (I want the drumstick! Whoops, nope, wrong beast of non-burden).

There are also the following gift options, featuring a veritable animal variety pack: The gift of a goat, which goes on the open market for $120, but you can share it with your friends for a sawbuck or spring for an entire pig which is a squeal of a deal at the same rate as the goat. On the subject of potential bacon and their needs, “pigs need little land and can eat crop and garden scraps.” This is good to know if pig sustenance is an issue for you.

While sheep are “shear joy” as the literature proclaims, $60 gets you a trio of rabbits which is the best bang for your buck, although bucks are not for sale. We all know it only takes two appropriately gendered rabbits to grow this particular investment. The finest deal is a flock of chicks for a twenty spot. By the way, they are a flock and not a gaggle, like geese.

Heifer International will also throw in bees, llamas, or a water buffalo for the hard-to-buy-for-person who has every creature. I just hope these are separate shipments.There's even a testimonial on the back, which is a fine propaganda tool, by a young woman named Beatrice who is seen feeding her seemingly content goat. She proclaims the day she received her goat, “It was the best day in my life.”

Just like the day I received this catalog.

(Please note: No animals were harmed in the writing of this column.)

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