Tales from the Cabin
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Cabinitis: Catalog Junkie

One person’s junk mail is another’s escapism

By Lars F
Published: December 1, 2004
Photo by Cabin Life, Cabin Living
My wife has been after me to get rid of all those sporting catalogs and boat brochures at the cabin. Of course, she has quite a stack of catalogs herself. Together, our catalogs and brochures spill out from the magazine rack and sit in dog-eared piles under the coffee table.
I haven’t counted exactly, but I guess mine do outnumber hers. But that’s just fine. They afford me two important pleasures. One is memories. The other is anticipation.  
The memories provoked by these glossy brochures and colorful catalogs are of the great times I’ve had on the water – boating, water-skiing, fishing, sailing and almost every other conceivable water sport.
The anticipation comes from looking at the boats I’ve never owned, the accessories I’ve never tried, the things I can buy and learn to master in this age of technological marvels. You don’t just run a boat anymore; it seems like you have to become an electronic technician to understand
all the bells and whistles on today’s advanced watercraft.
By the middle of winter, I just long for the days when I can feel the wind whipping at my face as we race down the lake in a sleek motorcraft, a small chop on the water and a bright sun overhead. Doesn’t that sound idyllic?
Do I even read those catalogs? Avidly! My idle moments are often spent flipping through the pages of the Cabela’s master catalog or Overton’s spring specials. I could spend hours comparing the different fish finders at Bass Pro, or checking out all the boat trailers. I get almost as much enjoyment going through these catalogs as I would taking an actual boat ride, a delirious fantasy during the long snowy months of winter.
Do I buy many things from these catalogs? Well, when the ravages of cabinitis descend upon me, it’s hard to tell what I may wind up buying. I guess I would be considered a very good catalog customer considering the number of watercraft, outboards, fishing graphs, GPS units, underwater cameras, etc. that I own.  
Catalog shopping is so easy today. You find something you want, call a toll-free number and tell them the product you want. You give them a credit card number, and a few days later the item arrives at your doorstep.  
I guess you could say we’re a catalog-addicted family. My wife probably receives more catalogs than I do (she just judiciously recycles them more frequently) and she’s constantly ordering clever items that I didn’t even know existed. The world has truly become a marvelous place for anyone with an acquisitive yen and a predilection to cabinitis.
So I’ll just stack the catalogs a little more neatly and when there’s no room left under my bed, I’ll reluctantly give up some of them. Until then, I’m going to keep reading and dreaming. And, yes, ordering too. Don’t even think about taking my telephone away!

Lars F. has refused the 12-step plan to control his cabinitis. Only his first name is used to protect his identity.
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