$79.95 plus shipping and handling from Catalog Favorites, 222 Mill Rd., Chelmsford MA 01824-3692, phone: 800-221-1133, fax: 800-986-5666, Internet: www.catalogfavorites.com
Suggested by Linda Chiono of Fitchburg, Wis.
The catalog in which we found this item describes it as the perfect gift ''for anyone who appreciates the beauty of the seashore.''
How true that is. Because if there are any two phrases in the English language that truly are inseparable, those phrases are ''beauty of the seashore'' and ''toilet seat.''
That is why we are so visually excited by this item. This is a handcrafted (Yes! Somebody crafted this by HAND!) commode seat containing ''genuine seashells and ferns, creating a distinctive accent for your bath decor.'' The catalog further states that ''the shells are sealed inside clear Lucor, which is durable and crack-resistant.''
We think the crack resistance is a good thing. Because your big concern, with this particular item, is the possibility that one of the genuine seashells might contain a marine organism that is still alive, and late one late night, when you've gotten out of bed and lumbered into the bathroom and are sitting on the throne, in the dark, half-asleep, suddenly YEEEEEEEEE you feel a tentacle or -- this is our personal nightmare -- a claw suddenly grasp you in a deeply personal region.
But that probably won't happen. You can buy this item with total confidence, knowing that you are getting a safe AND high-class decor item. It is our understanding that this is the only marine-themed toilet seat found in the personal residence of Mr. Ralph Lauren.