Politics & Other Mistakes: Holiday shopping made simple

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It’s tough to choose the right gift for Maine politicians. Most of them have only two items on their Christmas lists:

A — more power, and B — more popularity.

Hard to find either one on Etsy.

Fortunately for last-minute shoppers, I’ve discovered a company offering everything you’ll need to fill your favorite pols’ stockings with something other than coal. I’m calling this enterprise “Duller Image” (motto: “Expensive. Unnecessary. Unreliable. Sort of Like Your Elected Leaders”). That isn’t its real name (or motto), but all items are actual products from its catalog or website.

Virtual Pong ($79.99). Player whacks a “ball of light” around using an electronic racquet. It’s the perfect gift if you don’t have a real opponent. Which Democratic 1st District U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree doesn’t. Also, Pingree enjoys flailing away at insubstantial objects, like the blob of darkness inhabiting the White House. With this game, it’s always her serve.

Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones ($129.99). When Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins puts these babies on, she won’t hear a sound. Perfect for ignoring those annoying comments from upset constituents. Another advantage: While the headphones block outside noise, they’ll allow Collins to stream “The Great Speeches of Mitch McConnell” podcast.

Emergency Solar-Powered Hand-Crank Radio ($89.99). Like the solar panels being installed on the Blaine House, this radio costs a lot, is powered by the sun only sporadically (which is why you need the hand crank) and doesn’t save much money. But as green politicians like Democratic Gov. Janet Mills are fond of pointing out, it’s the symbolism that counts. If you’re feeling generous, maybe you could also get Mills a bigger hand crank to supplement her residence’s solar array.

Jellyfish Aquarium ($99.99). Contains “lifelike rubber jellyfish that float and sway in a mesmerizing fashion.” These fake invertebrates are a perfect fit for spineless Dem 2nd District Congressman Jared Golden, who floats and sways in a less-than-mesmerizing fashion while trying to avoid taking a position on almost any controversial issue.

Stranger Creature Catcher ($69.99). Apparently, this device projects weird monsters in the air. Or maybe it contains real monsters. It’s hard to tell from the online video. In any case, you’re supposed to catch them with the flashlight beam it projects. That makes it the ideal gift for xenophobic, homophobic GOP state Rep. Larry Lockman of Amherst, who’s convinced he’s surrounded by alien creatures in the forms of immigrants and transgendered people. According to the catalog, the catcher works best when “played in the dark,” which is where Lockman typically resides.

Shadow Fighter ($69.99). It appears Duller Image doesn’t sell fog machines, but this is the next best thing for fulfilling the Christmas dreams of Democratic state House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon. Gideon’s entire campaign is based on attacking a mirage-like figure she’s labeled “Susan Collins.” This device projects a shadow ninja on the wall, which Gideon can battle with her own shadow. If you don’t think that’s a perfect metaphor for this race, Amazon has that fog machine for a mere $179.99.

Lotsa toy guns (various prices). The Republican 2nd Congressional District candidates love firearms. But perhaps Eric Brakey, Adrienne Bennett and Dale Crafts strike you as the sort of loopy folks who shouldn’t be playing with real weapons. No problem. Crafts, an avid hunter, will love the Duck Shooting Carnival Game ($59.99), which promises points for every aquatic fowl he blows away. Bennett, who could hardly be described as a straight shooter for her tortured explanations as spokeswoman for former Gov. Paul LePage, might improve her aim with the Wild West Shooting Set ($49.99). Brakey, a fervent advocate of open-carry gun laws, is the ideal recipient of the Glow-In-The-Dark Dart Blaster ($69.99), which at 31 inches long is too big to conceal easily. These gifts come with the warm glow of knowing you’ve made the world a safer place, assault and batteries not included.

What do you get for a pain in the neck like me? How about the three-in-one Heated Neck Therapy with Remote ($179.99)? Less pricey suggestions may be emailed to [email protected].

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