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[Terror on the Shelves]

   Daniel Rosario


When war strikes, become a vendor. That's the new rule. Rather, an old rule that cropped up yet again soon after the World Trade Centre fell. What Osama bin Laden did was more than just attack a city. He also made a lot of entrepreneurs smile.

Osama costumes were among the first to arrive. They were quickly followed by Osama Halloween masks that began vying for attention with gas masks. Now, the marketing blitzkrieg has moved to anthrax mail isolation and inspection chambers, and neckties with themes based on anthrax, cancer and even gonorrhoea.

Looking for a couple of these grim reminders? Here's a list that ought to help.

1. The EscapeChute: Recommended for high-rise residents, this emergency building escape parachute comes in two styles, with a carrying bag and video. Film your fall, then post copies of the video to relatives living on lower floors.

2. Toilet paper: From the 'Twin Cheeks online store', these rolls come with pictures and slogans like 'Wipe out bin Laden!', 'Listen to your mamma...wipe with Osama!' and 'If he wants to attack...he can start with my crack!' Don't like these? Try other options.

3. Metal-free bra: Thanks to its resinous wires and nonmagnetic metal hooks, this is one bra that won't trip those detector alarms at airports. Available in white, orange and blue, with panties to match. Also called the Frequent Flyers' Bra.

4. The Anthrax Box: Yes, it looks suspiciously like a fish tank. No, there aren't any guarantees offered. 'Designed and built for the United States Postal Inspection Service'. Any takers?

5. Osama clothing: Get yourself that perfect 'terrorist' look. Start off with an Osama vest and boxer shorts, slip into an Osama T-shirt before adding an Osama tote bag and micro-fibre cap. And yes, did we mention the Osama mugs and mouse pads?

6. Sell your apartment and make a Missile Silo your underground home. Or, why not invest in an Atlas F missile site capable of withstanding a nuclear attack?

7. Theme scarves and neckties: Choose designs based on anthrax, cholera, dental plaque, hepatitis-B, plague and syphilis. Then, order a couple and watch your spouse file for divorce.

8. Osama voodoo dolls: Stick as many pins as you like into these effigies of the terrorist. Ideal for 'voodoo capture rituals, hanging, torching, beating up and dismembering'. And no, if you're wondering, there aren't any George Bush dolls up for sale just yet.

9. God Bless America CD: Recorded by various artists for the benefit of the Twin Towers Fund. Proof, at $11.99, that patriotism doesn't always come that cheap.

10. And, for the academically inclined, books on Osama bin Laden.

That's the list. Whip out those credit cards. Make an entrepreneur smile.



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