The Secret Life Of A Catalogue Writer

For those who refuse to give up on their dream of writing for a living, yet just can’t get anything published, there are some who become catalogue writers. You know, the guy who writes the small paragraph next to the product, touting its reasons to be purchased? Being a bass fisherman, tackle catalogues come in the mail all the time. One day while thumbing through one of these catalogues and reading what was being said about each product, a thought crossed my mind. Now because there is not much between my ears to hinder thoughts from passing straight through without hanging up, when a thought does stop long enough for me to ponder, I take notice. I also take on strange looks that sometimes scares my wife. Anyway, the thought was, “Who writes these little ditties? Somewhere hidden inside a small cubicle is a person who is paid to do this.

Here is an example written for a fishing lure: “The naturally shaped and brilliantly colored finish of this lure is bound to bring cataclysmic strikes from even the most wary of big bass.” According to the author, this lure not only makes dumb fish react by clobbering the living bejesus out of it, it does the same with even the smartest. Impressive! Now this guy was born to be a catalogue writer, and has accepted his place in life! His fishing jargon is absolute poetry. But then there is the catalogue writer who can’t quite let go of his aspirations of being a true author with his impressive grasp of the English language. Such a person must have written this sales pitch for a certain make of fishing rod. It reads as such, with my thoughts as they came to mind.

These new super light fishing rods are built with high-tensile strength HTSC30 carbon blanks. (Okay pal, you’re attempting to sell this fishing pole to bass fishermen, many with a I.Q. just a little higher than a pastrami on rye, light years from being a structural engineer. You might as well have said it was made of ZYTL62 carbon blanks, or any other random combination of letters and numbers. I would have never known the difference.) These fishing rods also utilize a new double-helix construction. (Alright! Now all I have to do is figure out what the hell “helix” is. Oh well, whatever it is it’s double.) And this helix construction exponentially (Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Exponentially? Really? Okay, would all the bass fishermen out there please raise their hands if they have the slightest idea what that word means. I.Q.? Remember? Two of my fingers tied themselves in a double-hitched knot just attempting to type the word, let alone figure out its definition. All I know is if I were to ever use that word down at Kelly’s Bar and Grill, our local watering hole for us fishermen, I would be permanently ejected with no chance of parole. Ever! I have said it before, but it bares repeating. There are two rule infraction that will get you kicked out of Kelly’s: using words of four syllables or more, or telling a bald-faced truth. Anyway,) this increases strength while reducing weight. Slick and durable, Pac Bay Hialoy micro guides focus your line for longer casts. (I don’t have the slightest idea how fishing line is focused. I guess I’ll have to take a closer look while casting.)

Of course there is also another interpretation of the word “focus.” It comes into play in this story about two sisters from the deep south who were approached by a photographer wanting to take some pictures of them. One of them was a little nervous when he led them to an empty building across the street.

“What do ya figger he’s goin’ ta do?” the one whispered to the other.

“Well I figger the first thing he’ll do is focus.”

The other’s eyes widened. “Bofe of us?”

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. And he ends the pitch with this….

This rod is an exceptional value and a steel at $149.99. (Okay, who is getting the steel? Because I can purchase a fishing rod that just tickles me pink for around forty bucks, I think this buy would be stealing money from me. So all I have to say to the company of this catalogue, this is not the guy you want writing for a catalogue dedicated to bass fishermen. And I exponentially mean that!

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7 thoughts on “The Secret Life Of A Catalogue Writer

  1. Oh, man. I always wondered who did catalog write-ups and where they come up with their verbage. And that focus joke. Lol. I’d love to see your catalog writing. You’d probably get distracted with a joke or two.

  2. I’d think if I wrote for a fishing catalogue, that company would lose sales. I haven’t the slightest notion about how to catch fish or rod types. They actually make catalogues and you read them? I guess somebody’s do both and you were singled out for one.

  3. “Now because there is not much between my ears to hinder thoughts from passing straight through without hanging up, when a thought does stop long enough for me to ponder, I take notice.”
    –hahahaha, I’m sorry to say that I can relate all too well to this comment.
    “His fishing jargon is absolute poetry.”
    –Only a true fisherman, such as yourself, could truly appreciate this as poetry. lol
    “These new super… …while casting)”
    –I was literally sitting here at my computer laughing out loud. Seriously, “OUT LOUD”.
    You never cease to put a smile on my face Richard. You’re such a funny guy. Who woulda thought that I’d be laughing at fishing jokes…
    =)

  4. Coming from a writer who has such a large following, that is more of a compliment than you can imagine. Yes, I was a published humor writer for many years, but appreciation for that humor was usually nothing more than a check in the mail. Now that I’m retired from chasing publishers, I find so much more personal satisfaction from putting my twisted writings on this blog. As you well know, writing is probably one of the most thankless jobs imaginable. Any appreciative audience can seem to be light years away. A blog brings in at least a glimmer of that appreciation. And you are a part of that glimmer. Thank you. I wrote a post a while back titled, “A Perspective On Written Humor.” In it I said, “that if what comes to my mind doesn’t at least bring a spontanious chuckle, if not an out-right belly laugh, I will not print it to paper.” The fact that you said, “Who woulda thought that I’d be laughing at fishing jokes,” validates my oath. Once more, thank you.

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