You know we as a people are getting soft when you get the new Neiman Marcus mini-wish book and see the new Swiss army (oxymoron) knife.
Swiss army knives used to be standard issue, regardless of your position on scouting: they worked, they looked good, and they had all sorts of useful—mechanical—gewgaws. Tweezers, toothpick, magnifying glass, corkscrew, spork—it was all in there, and though you never used half of it, the fun was in the endless folding-unfolding of it. It was a boy's first adult accessory—after a Velcro wallet, or a giant comb.
Now, from Neiman, comes the Victorinox Swiss Memory, updating the classic Swiss army pocketknife, which you always thought was kind of useless anyway—having only a nail file, scissors and one puny blade. This year's model? The plastic sides, which were always that fire-truck red, are now a techno translucent red—or a sensitive see-through blue. How lame is that?
And the crowning shame is the memory stick. This Swiss army knife comes with a removable USB memory stick; the 256-megabyte model sells for $70, the 1-gigabyte version for a whopping $160. That'll definitely keep a country safe, or help you start a fire next time you're lost in Black Star Canyon. Next year: bedazzled, retractable earbuds.