2013.04.17 Catalog is practically dripping with machismo

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Recently I received a copy of the Duluth Trading Company catalog in the mail. Since my name is spelled incorrectly on the label in the same unique way as another company I receive mailings from, I’m pretty sure I know who sold them my address. 

After leafing through it, I’m not sure that I’m macho enough to be ordering from them. Heck, I’m not sure if Chuck Norris is macho enough, although I’m sure the star of “Walker, Texas Ranger” would give it his best effort. Did I say the catalog was dripping with machismo? Maybe dripping with testosterone would be more accurate.

 Take for instance, the customer endorsement for the company’s jeans. Brian from Meridian, Texas, says “I was moving calves from one pasture to another when a 644-lb. wild boar charged at me like a runaway 18-wheeler! When I got up, I had a gaping hole in my arm, and a pain in my leg, but no damage. If not for the material of your Fire Hose Jeans, the tusk could have torn through my femoral artery. I could have bled to death and died!”

Maybe I’m being picky, Brian, but I have a few questions. You had no damage? The gaping hole in your arm doesn’t count? And did the boar stop long enough for you to weigh it? How can you be so sure of its weight? And finally, you could have bled to death AND died? I’ve never heard of anyone who bled to death and lived. All right, enough ranting about that.

I should explain the Duluth folks use a cotton fabric in most of their clothing that was originally used to wrap rubber fire hoses, so the words “Fire Hose” are used in the name of many products. In one listing, the fabric is called “heroically durable.” Yes, we’re now applying the word hero to fabric.

They have another style of jeans that has a name I’m afraid I can’t even print in a family newspaper. Perhaps the editor will allow me to say the slogan for the jeans is “Crouch without singing soprano,” but that’s as much as I’ll try to get away with.

Next, they drag the late Ernest Hemingway into the catalog with the copy for the Adventurer’s Presentation Jacket, saying that “Hemingway wore a rugged jacket like this on his famed forays to Africa—and also when he was facing off with publishers in New York.” Considering the circumstances of his demise, couldn’t they have found a different “hero” who wore a similar jacket?

Even Duluth’s belts almost seem to be challenging you to a fight. The Ranger Work Belt features a buckle that “won’t jab your belly when you’re pursuing rustlers on the wide-open prairie.” Even better is the Smokejumper’s Belt, which is apparently designed for those with plans to jump from an airplane: “Strap it on before you bail from your Twin Otter to honcho a North Idaho flaming burnout.” 

Among Duluth’s non-clothing items is Powell’s 1-handed Pocket Knife, complete with somewhat gruesome copy. ”When 50,000+ Civil War amputees had to adjust to peacetime life, cutlers created knives like this, that open 1-handed off a pocket.”

Then there’s the Duluth version of the Bowie knife, which claims to have a razor sharp 10-inch blade. One wrong move with this and you’ll next be ordering that Powell knife. Just in case, you’d better buy a Trauma Pak, too.

The Trauma Pak copy reads: “Let’s hope you never have a sucking chest wound on the job...but if you do, you’ll be glad you had our Trauma Pak in your tool bag.”

And when it’s lunchtime, you be happy you have the 12 Gauge Shotshell Thermo Bottle. Yes, a thermos bottle shaped like a shotgun shell that holds 25 ounces of your favorite beverage. After lunch is finished, pull out your stainless steel toothpick holder (holds about 10 toothpicks! Just $6.95!) and your toothpicks are ready for action!

And finally, for those who can’t handle the manliness of all their other products, Duluth carries the “Newsboy Cap,” claiming that newsboys in Depression days “wore jaunty cotton twill caps like this.” It’s actually true, just watch Turner Classic Movies long enough, and they’ll  play a 1930s film. If it’s set in a big city, eventually the action will go outside and you’ll see an annoying newsboy wearing a similar cap. If the actor buys a paper, and tips him well, maybe he won’t take out his Bowie knife.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017