Deep Cover

Can the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog help put an end to the scourge of jaywalking?
photo: Linny Morris

This spring, the Honolulu Police Department announced that it would use undercover officers to crack down on pedestrians and drivers who violate jaywalking laws. Undercover policing—it’s not just for drug syndicates anymore! Anyone, at any time, could be a ticket-bearing cop. That metrosexual with the man bag. Or—over there—the lady with one arm.

But when I heard this announcement, I felt bad for the officers. I imagined them in the sun, trickles of sweat snaking down their fake moustaches and wigs, their rubber bosoms and eye patches chafing uncomfortably. With jaywalking enforcement now apparently job No. 1, our boys in blue deserve to be properly equipped, and I wanted to help. So I went on a mission: Special Undercover Pedestrian Equipment Requisition—or what the Feds might dub SUPER.

First, I had to decide where to conduct my mission. Magnum Security? But SUPER involves plainclothes work, so I turned instead to the finest purveyor of specialty gadgets: the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.

On page 16, I found a Wireless Remote-Controlled Surveillance Camera, perfect for monitoring peripatetic corruption at stop signs. But for four-way intersections, it’s time to whip out the Remote-Controlled Helicopter and a Suction-Powered Wall-Climbing Humvee. I also purchased a World’s Brightest Flashlight and a Hands-Free, Over-Ear Book Light—for nighttime stakeouts.

With a set of Waterproof Floating Binoculars, nitrogen-purged to prevent fogged lenses, the police can spot jaywalkers at 1,000 yards. Sure, the Remote Controlled Pirate Ship was a bit of a splurge, but anything to help the HPD sneak up on deviant, double-street-crossers at Aloha Tower.

illustration: Matt Mignanelli

Ambushing ne’er-do-well jaywalkers is bound to be thirsty work. The Portable 48-Second Water Purifier will help the officers quench themselves and avoid microbes—giardia, cryptosporidium—lurking in their water bottles. For downtime, I treated the police to a Portable Hammock, with “the lightweight portability of a backpack beach chair,” and a Rugged 7-Inch DVD Player to keep monotony at bay.

Next, I invested in a series of disguises for the officers: A Danish Tandem Tricycle, for patrolling in the vicinity of elementary schools. A lightweight Travel Robe, to blend in near nursing homes. A Stadium Hot Dog Griller and Monogrammed Barbecue Branding Iron, for game-day enforcement in parking lots. We can’t have our crosswalk Donnie Brascos slipping into these getups behind a palm tree, so voila! The portable Instant Changing Room. It assembles in less than 30 seconds, and has preppy, hot-pink/lime green stripes.

We live in a multicultural city, but don’t worry, the HPD is now the proud owner of a Talking 12-Language Portable Translator. We can be told we’re flouting the law in flawless Arabic, Greek, Russian and Hebrew.

Lastly, I gifted the HPD with item DF-73092. According to the catalog, the Faux Security Camera “replicates the appearance of a genuine, working security camera, allowing you to create the impression of a high-surveillance area.”

Just like undercover cops who may, or may not, be at a crosswalk at all. And for a fraction of the price.