Airport security. It’s only ever a problem if you look like someone who would blow up a plane or do something stupid in an airport. For every exaggerated story you hear of a 90-year-old woman being anally fisted by a TSA worker with a superiority complex there’s several thousand inspections where the only conversational exchange is “Please step through the detector. Thank you, enjoy your flight.” Airport security isn’t the worst thing about flying, in fact walking past a row of apathetic and self-hating people of various heights and weights is almost like walking through a carnival house of mirrors in a sense. The worst thing about flying? Fucking SkyMall.
There’s a copy of a SkyMall catalog sitting in the seat pouch of every seat on every plane in the United States. Seriously. SkyMall’s pages are full of bullshit so inane the only way they ever make any money is by boring you to fucking death. When you’re in the middle of a three-hour flight the only way to waste time is to dare a conversation with the person sitting next to you, tamper with the smoke detector in the bathroom, or read the magazines sitting in the pouch in front of you. The in-flight proprietary magazine is always crap and all of the articles are about places you’ll never visit or musicians you introspectively correct yourself on because you thought they died a decade ago. That leaves SkyMall and the only way a 7-way car charger would ever look enticing is if the only other available option for entertainment involved jumping out of a moving plane.
After one SkyMall-enhanced flight too many I realized I had enough. No more SkyMall. I found myself cynically bashing and berating every product in the magazine while sniveling and coloring peoples’ eyes in. And then I had an epiphany. I should make fun of this shit online.
During the flight I formulated the idea for what would become the website “The Sharperer Image“. I decided to visit SkyMall.com and download a couple hundred product pictures that I found personally appealing and began altering their ad copy to something a bit more spiteful, sentient, disgusting, and deplorable. My goal wasn’t to make fun of just The Sharper Image (an actual American company who sells things through SkyMall) but to instead parody it with a company that seemingly knows their products are total shit and unabashedly produces them anyways knowing people are too stupid to know any better. I only settled on a name based off of The Sharper Image because it was the easiest to mock and because nobody in their right minds can fucking spell “Hammacher Schlemmer”.
Is the company the “sharper” image? Hell no. They’re not even the sharpest. They’re sharper than sharpest; they’re sharperer.
I even invented a whole mythology for the fictional company. In 2004 the actual Sharper Image company faced lawsuits from their Ionic Breeze air ionizers due to the fact that they produced ozone as a byproduct. Ozone is great and all, it’s in our ozone layer (hence the name), but ozone itself is incredibly toxic to living things. It can straight up kill small animals, damage and scar plants, and in humans can cause respiratory illnesses and even failure due to prolonged exposure. In 2008 the company went bankrupt, and that’s where the story of The Sharperer Image begins.
Cited from The Sharperer Image’s company profile:
The company was rapidly falling apart but in the midst of the chaos of the bankruptcy a new brand was formed: The Sharperer Image. Spearheaded by a nondescript and unknown sentient force The Sharperer Image permeated the factories and production lines of the former Sharper Image facilities and began autonomously churning out the same high quality white collar products that originally made Thalheimer a millionaire with the sole exception of translating every products’ ad copy into a bizarre mish-mash of insults, pop culture references, and blatant hatred for humanity.
Yes, a haunted factory; one that produces terrible products that are sold in airport catalogs and to elderly retired people who don’t know any better.
The website itself is relatively knew, but it looks promising. It’s an authentic GatorAIDS/Twilight Foundry venture, so the people running The Sharperer Image are the same people you know and love from GatorAIDS. If you have a Tumblr, follow us. If not, bookmark us and check us out. The “update schedule” shows the average work week of the company. As it stands for the month of April we’ll have a new product every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Sunday we post fake meeting notes summarizing the numbers, highs, lows, and other odds and ends from the week prior. Saturdays are “Q&A” days where readers can submit us questions, comments, or product concerns for the company to look at and address. (You can submit questions throughout the week, but we only post answers on Saturdays.)
If you’re curious as to what gets produced by The Sharperer Image, then continue on. Below are some of the better submissions in the short time we’ve been online:
The product that started it all, the “Fart Recorder”, was based upon what I think was some kind of steam-therapy system for people with asthma or something to that extent. I looked right at it and in an instant said “she’s probably smelling a fart in that” and from there an entire website idea was born.
SkyMall sells a ton of stupid “LED laser” hair regrowth products. I would imagine -4 of them perform their intended duties. If you showed this to me, without any logos or text on it, and asked me what I thought it was I’d tell you it was one of those coasters they give you a TGI Friday’s that buzzes and chimes when your table is ready, so that’s exactly how I spun this item.
With this product I knew what was actually being sold: that giant nylon chair. They put a little guy in it to introduce it as a “novelty” but it’s actually just a nice way of saying “this giant chair is for obscenely fat people and can hold up to 600 pounds without ripping apart”. When I looked at the picture I decided to take a different route: sell the guy sitting in it. He looks like Teller (of Penn & Teller fame) so I figured why not? Then, as a joke I underhanded in the original chair with its own item number just because.
Part of the hilarity of SkyMall’s tat is that when you take away the name of a product and just show someone the picture sometimes it’s incredibly hard to guess what the original product was. Taken out of context, this item (which was a motion-detecting dog food bowl) looks like some kind of radar device with poorly Photoshopped food pellets in it that happen to look like Skittles candies being activated by a dog. Therefore, it’s just that: a device to let your dog, and your dog only, eat Skittles. It kills everything else.
This is another one of those “what the hell am I looking at” things when you take it out of context. Obviously it’s a pair of swimming goggles, however the confusion arises when you look at all the buttons and dongles hanging off of it and wonder just what the hell its purpose is. It’s actually an underwater MP3 player (stupid, I know hur hur) but I looked at all the controls and buttons and said “you know that would be better off as something that lets you understand dolphins”.
This product right here was an instant hit with our growing audience. It originally was a ridiculous puzzle cube that you put money inside of to give as a gift to someone; they can only get the money out if they solve the puzzle. I looked at this and saw an easy sick Republican joke in there, something about “making people work for their money”. One thing led to another and the ad copy turned out being hilariously spiteful, but unfortunately spot-on as far as American politics are concerned…
The Sharperer Image is something I’m really proud of and very excited about, and it’s kind of where I’ve been for most of the period that I’ve been MIA from GatorAIDS. Please check us out, and please pass us along to your friends. I’m very new to Tumblr so I’m learning as I go, but the response so far has been very reassuring!