The Gifts of Holidays to Come


     Every week we get at least five to ten catalogs in the mail, and the deluge is particularly heavy in the weeks before Christmas. I usually flip through the ones selling men’s clothing and T-shirts with funny sayings but spend more time on the catalogs with gadgets and tools.

     Maybe we’re on the wrong mailing lists—most of the thingamajigs for sale don’t address the everyday aggravations and problems we face. One of these days I’d like to open a catalog packed with innovative devices that are truly useful.

     Such as, you ask:

     --A GPS doodad for women’s purses. Many of the women I know take four or five minutes to find anything in their oversized purses. (While it may not really be four or five minutes, when you’re waiting to leave a busy supermarket checkout counter it feels like a day and a half.) I could take my daily nap in the time it takes a certain someone to find her credit card hidden somewhere in that big black bag.

     --A gizmo connected to the driver’s seat in cars that will buzz your rump if you try to text while driving, a buzz so strong it will discourage this dangerous multitasking. If engineers can design a car seat to warm your buns, they surely could make one to buzz your buns. It could be called the bun buzzer.

     --Eyebrow pencils that dissolve automatically when not used for more than one month. A rough inventory of the premises I share with the aforementioned certain someone found a total of 37 eyebrow pencils in five different locations.

     --A paper tissue detector, perhaps a wand, to be waved over the pockets of pants about to be put in the washer. At my residence, a frequent thread of conversation is:

     “You left tissues in your pants.”

     “I did? I thought I checked them.”

     “Nope. You didn’t.”

     --A device that flashes a short video on the ceiling, showing a certain someone’s step-by-step instructions on the only correct way to fold a freshly-laundered bed sheet. This insistence on precision-folding is a mystery to me. Sometimes the time gap between correctly folding the sheet and putting it back on the bed is six minutes or less. In advanced societies is being adept at this chore considered a sign of good breeding and intelligence or is someone just being unnecessarily picky?

     --A paring knife with the capability of answering when it is summoned. Another familiar conversation where I live:

     “Have you seen the good paring knife?”

     “No. I haven’t used it today.”

     “It was right here just a second ago. Where did it go?”

     --A smart phone app like Siri or Shirley (or whatever that talky lady’s name is) that on command opens the caps on prescription medicine bottles, pickle jars and maple syrup jugs.

     --A portable device that you slip your face into and ten seconds later your teeth have been flossed (good and flossed, in fact) and, as a bonus, you were entertained by the opening bars of one of your favorite songs. In my case that would be Emmylou Harris’s version of “Together Again.” 

     You probably have your own list of needed inventions. We can only hope several bright kids are working on new things, and that a few of these gadgets will be available for next Christmas and Hanukkah. (This might actually happen if they can put down their phones long enough to focus on something else.) Enjoy the holidays.


(Originally published in the December 2018 issue of the Great South Bay Magazine.)