This is certainly not the first time I have received emails with the word “crap” in them.
Believe it or not, an occasional reader can look at one of my columns and simply fail to realize the transcendent beauty of the prose.
(Insert smiley-face emoticon here.)
But in this case, the barrage of crap-infested emails was completely self-inflicted.
Last week, I wrote about a new book called Crap Souvenirs: The Ultimate Kitsch Collection.
One of the best bad ones was a pope bottle-opener, which looked mighty familiar to Beacon Journal Features Editor Lynne Sherwin. She and her husband bought one when they were honeymooning in Italy in 2001.
Struck by the huge number of cheesy souvenirs they saw, they set out to find the worst one, just for laughs.
The book takes the same concept and runs around the globe with it, offering 158 pages of the crappiest stuff you can imagine.
Unfortunately, not a single entry came from Ohio. So I figured we ought to rectify that.
Readers were invited to nominate the worst Northeast Ohio souvenir they had seen — and also come up with a concept for an even crappier one.
The runaway winner in the first category was Judy Gerstenslager of Coventry Township. She sent me a photo of a 1973 whiskey decanter with a big tire on the front carrying the inscription “AKRON: Rubber Capital of the World.”
“Who wouldn’t want a Jim Beam china whiskey decanter sitting on his mantle?” she wrote. “I say bring them back! Manufacture them en masse! What do you think?”
I think it’s brilliant. So she wins the first of several fabulous prizes.
As a reward for her tackiness, Gerstenslager will become the proud owner of a Bill Clinton refrigerator magnet from Little Rock, Ark.
Although I hesitate to use the word “crap” in connection with a gift from a well-intentioned reader, I’m sure Sheryll Sehika will understand. She is the Arkansas resident who started this whole souvenir discussion by complaining about a lack of Akron souvenirs after vacationing here.
I sent her a package of Akron’s kitschiest — and now she has reciprocated.
I figure re-gifting a few of her treasures would not only help spread the word about Arkansas (fire up the Garmin!), but save me a trip to the store. (Time is of the essence when you have to write three crappy columns a week.)
The magnet features a bad caricature of Clinton above the words, “Home of Bill Clinton, 42nd President, Arkansas.”
It doesn’t get any better/worse than that.
Well, maybe it does.
Sehika’s packet of goodies also included a red beer cozy with “Go Hogs, Go!” beneath a drawing of a fierce razorback (think University of Arkansas) and an equally big logo of Centennial Bank, which presumably distributed the cozies for free.
That gem is going to Joe Gains of Copley, who submitted one of the best/worst entries in the “theoretical” category:
“How about a compass with the face of LeBron James on it — and the compass only points south?”
Angela Dineen of Uniontown was right on top of things, too:
“What else but(t) a tire toilet-seat? Like the iconic ashtrays, it could be made in a variety of old rubber companies’ treads — except Goodyear’s and Bridgestone’s, as they’ve thankfully (and tastefully) toughed it out here with the rest of us.
“Akron’s crap souvenir. Don’t leave for home without it. Where the tread meets the tush!”
For that brainstorm, she will receive an Arkansas lapel pin. It bears the Arkansas flag and, as I’ve just learned, its official slogan: “The Natural State.”
More good ones
Former area resident Ashley Scott of Mount Pleasant, S.C., envisioned a four-headed bobblehead with a Mount Rushmore of Cleveland pestilence: LeBron, John Elway, Jose Mesa and Art Modell.
Excellent. She will receive Arkansas playing cards emblazoned with — of course — “The Natural State.”
Among the multiple suggestions pouring forth from Al Honey of Stow: a plastic key chain of Rex Humbard’s tower, complete with its numerous cell phone transceivers, labeled “the Tower of Babel.”
Shirley Stofka of Cuyahoga Falls would love to see a refrigerator magnet depicting the side of a bridge with the word “AKRON” repeated 10 times.
Ray Freitas of Stow suggested a Goodyear blimp lighter. Not sure whether he had the Hindenberg in mind, but if not, he should have.
Because she works in customer service for the Beacon Journal, Cheryl Bishop is not eligible for prizes, but she did offer a couple of cute nominations (“cute” being in the eye of the beholder): a Zippy pencil sharpener “where the pencil is inserted in the most logical place,” and a Luis Proenza piggy bank “that you just keep pouring money into.”
If it were up to Barbara Adolph, we already would have “a board game with various motorized cars that can drive around town, then park in any allotted space. The winner is the lucky soul who drives the car labeled ‘mayor.’ As it enters the parking area, it screams, ‘Do you know who I am?’ thereby releasing a switch that ejects not only the attendant, but all other cars to the basement floor.”
A remarkable number of readers apparently equate tackiness with birth control. The best submission along those lines came from Will Krusinski, who took a photo of a big bowl filled with wrapped condoms, saying it needed only the addition of “Akron Rubber Bowl” stamped on the side.
Krusinski went to Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, where, in 1980, Trinity’s football team was headed to the state championships. Depending upon the outcome of another game, Trinity would play either in Columbus or at the Rubber Bowl. They wound up in Columbus, which was a darn shame, he says.
“Imagine the embarrassment on the faces of the Sisters of this fine Catholic institution if the headline had read, ‘Trinity Trojans in the Rubber Bowl.’ ”
And they actually let this guy graduate?
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.