‘Bummer! Bummer!’

In Night Gallery story “Hells Bells”, actor John Astin dies in a car crash. Entering the afterlife, he knows the destination isn’t Heaven. He finds himself in a room with phonograph and stack of vinyl records, and that tempts his hippy ways until, rather than rock and roll, he hears big band music. Next appears an older gent dressed in overalls who only talks about life on the farm, followed by a couple ready to show 8,500 slides of their vacation to Tijuana, Mexico. Angry, Astin yells: “I want to see the Devil. Where are you, man? Show your ugly face!”

“Having a good time?” The Devil appears and asks. “Hell is never what you expect it to be. But for you, this is it. Don’t you like it?” “No it’s a downer”, Astin answers. “Yes it is, isn’t it,” the Devil agrees, nodding. “You know, it’s a curious thing. They have exactly the same room up there…You see, while this room is Hell for you, absolutely beastly Hell, up there the identical room is someone else’s idea of Heaven”.

I feel something similar about a package received from Photojojo yesterday. What disappoints me, and grandly, might delight someone else—although I can’t imagine whom

My story starts April 29th, when Photojojo sent spam offering a dSLR mystery box. Pay 20 bucks and get a bunch of goodies. Five lucky takers would receive a Sony digicam. I have ordered from the store several times, never to be disappointed. Surely something surprisingly satisfying would be inside. “Hells Bells” ends with John Astin pounding the floor, crying: “Bummer! Bummer!” That’s my reaction to the contents you see.

The closest item to useful is the pack of Micro Fiber Lens Cleanse Patches that “iron on to your duds, so you can rock that cleaning power at all times”. That’s a $3 item, discounted from $12. Also inside, and not as discernible from my photo, is the Chalkboard Speech Bubble and box of chalk. That’s a $12 combo, discounted to $6.50.

Also inside: Snack Caps, in four different sizes. They’re lens caps with pics of sweets on the outside. Donuts, anyone? But I’m reasonably confident, and need to confirm, that none of them fits any of my Fuji lenses. These sell for $5 a piece, discounted by half.

The final five-item combo is called the “Pennant Party Box”. Besides the two you see, the flags read: “Huzzah”, “Lolz”, and “Woot”. Photojojo no longer sells the kit but the store’s Pinterest puts the original price at $25. It’s still sold through Amazon, however, for 12 bucks.

I can see how the mystery box might be a bunch of fun for someone—a little piece of Heaven—but my reaction is more like I burned $20 in the fire pits of Hell. Maybe I’m too old to appreciate the creative play this stuff could be.

So, as a measure, I showed the contents to my 21 year-old daughter, who could find nothing of value for her camera shenanigans. This reaction is from a young woman who SnapChats three times whenever picking up iPhone 6s (so I exaggerate a wee bit).

Maybe the problem is this: From Photojojo’s description, I expected the dSLR mystery box contents to be more about things useful for dSLRs and lots less about props someone might use for their shoots. Sigh.

Growing up in Northern Maine during the 1970s, TV options were limited. I watched Night Gallery out of want for something better; thinking then, and more as an adult, how schlocky are the stories and rather cheap were the production values. Still, 44 episodes aired over three seasons. I remember but a single short segment from one. Now it’s a metaphor for a box of clutter.