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Plumbing the depths of senior mail order

Mike Drummond, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

I caught myself scanning the obituary page twice last week. I’m not waiting for anyone specific to die. But folks my age are beginning to make regular appearances on that page – and NOT as survivors.

Just another morbid middle-aged mood swing – one that coincides with the arrival of the latest AARP magazine. It always features the latest baby boomers who have crossed over to the gray side of 50 and irrationally upbeat articles about retirement finances and the “golden years.” Not a part of my future I want to focus on yet.

Another magazine, “Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare Catalog For Seniors,” seems to be in the Clear Creek Ranch mailbox every day. I used to toss them unopened. There was nothing inside for me, and the slick paper was terrible for lighting a wood stove fire.



Then one morning when the local news thief liberated my newspaper from its delivery tube before I could, there was nothing new to read except a tall stack of “Dr. Leonard’s.” Why not flip through one for a laugh?

I flipped pages from 10 a.m.to dusk, with a brief break for lunch, and found I was only half way through. The last time I spent that much time with a catalog was one from Sears – the toy section wish book, the week before Christmas, when I was 6.




Like vintage Sears, Dr. Leonard must know what will sell and that people my age are ready to buy it. And if he does, that means my peers and I will need some heretofore unnecessary things in the near future. Like velcro-strapped running shoes, blood pressure gauges (a dozen different models), contour pillows (for shoulders, neck, or between the knees) and easy-grip handles. And visible means of support: neck, back, feet and joint braces.

There is even a device for putting on your nonskid thermal socks without touching your feet. And you don’t want to be touching your feet if your toenails look like the catalog sample: something curly and gnarled, like the mushrooms that sprout on tree stumps after a rain. (Don’t worry, Dr. Leonard has a cure!)

There is a whole pantheon of aids for elimination: laxatives, diuretics, and dozens of attachments for the toilet – arm rests, raised seats, tachometer and roll-bar. Everything EXCEPT the main unit.

When I mentioned Dr. Leonard’s toilet add-ons to my wife, she reminded me of my promise to go shopping for a new toilet for our spare bathroom. The old one works just fine, but it looks like it is made from mismatched parts.

Unfortunately this meant shopping in a real store in the real world, not day dreaming in my underwear on the couch. And it meant choices: low-flow or high-flow, electronic flushes or powerless ones, porcelain color swatches, and more. Even the regular vs. elongated bowl controversy had to be addressed.

It was overwhelming and I needed to sit down. But hunkering down right there in a toilet showroom made (even) me uncomfortable. And I didn’t see exactly what I wanted anyway.

Wonder what the shipping and handling charges would be on a Dr. Leonard toilet? The recliner model with upholstered arm rests, adjustable head and foot rests, built-in stereo speakers, and recessed compartments to hold a drink and the VCR remote.

This might be too nice to tuck away in a bathroom. I’m thinking we might have to re-plumb the living room. Dead center. Maybe order matching porcelain coffee and end tables.

Where did I put those color swatches?

Mike Drummond’s column appears on Tuesday. You can write him at The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or e-mail him at miked@theunion.com.


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