Think you have enough gadgets and energy-saving devices that make life so much easier?  Well, you don’t.  Because each year new products appear on the market to fill a need you don’t know you have.

2019 produced some doozies, and I can’t wait to discover what 2020 will bring forth.  Will the Apple phone keep getting bigger? Will the latest trend in business casual be carpenter’s overalls with pockets large enough to accommodate the iPhone 15?   Will Alexa get married?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Some of my favorites from the current year include iridescent flatware, whose rainbow colors are so distracting that you have no idea you just consumed burnt food.  Bio magnetic ear stickers for weight loss.  Comes in both pierced and clip-on styles.   Ice trays shaped like the Hope Diamond.  Really? Are cubed cubes so last year?  A mini eye massager perfect for when a maxi eye massager just won’t do.  And a dog treat launcher.  I mean, haven’t you always dreamed of flinging a milk bone?

And just who are the unsung heroes who lay awake at 3:00 AM conjuring up all the various ways to improve the lives of others? We may never know.  So the following questions will probably go unanswered, but I shall ask them anyway.

Whose idea was it to remove the numbers from watch faces?  Wasn’t a watch created to be a precision instrument originally designed to inform the wearer of the exact time? I do concede that the fashionable blank watch faces are rather beautiful, with nary a numeral to mar the exquisite white or silver background.  And, yes, you can still determine if it’s three o’clock, or noon.  But what if it is important to know a less precise time, like seven past one, and not eight past one?  What if your train leaves the station at precisely 6:07 and your mobile phone has run out of power so you can’t confirm the exact minute.  So there; you miss your train!  Or maybe you don’t care about exactness.  Maybe you’re one of those mindfulness people who live in the moment?  Well, in that case, a numberless watch will be absolutely no help in letting you know in which moment you are living!

Whose idea was it to replace a key ignition with a push-button starter?  If you’ve purchased a new car in the past few years, then you no longer carry a car key, but something called a fob.  The fob, not a key, opens the car door, and once inside, your finger, not a key, starts the car.  Different than it used to be, that’s true.  But is it better? I mean, were car keys really so heavy that we are relieved that they no longer weigh down our pockets?  Was inserting the key in the ignition and turning it really so exhausting?   I believe there is no turning back, that push-button starters are here to stay.  But there are times when I do miss my old-fashioned car key.  Particularly when the battery in my new-fangled fob is dead!

Whose idea was it that humankind needed a Smart Toilet?  An initial encounter with one of these electric potties is really quite startling.   One is not prepared to walk into a guest bathroom in a friend’s house, turn on the light, and be saluted by the toilet seat lid, which automatically pops up upon your arrival, as if inviting you to sit.  But do you really want to sit on something that is filled with water and plugged into an electric outlet? Your bladder is bursting, so sit you will on a heated toilet seat.  But it’s summer.  Is this really necessary?  The darn thing is so clever that it knows when you’re finished and flushes itself, and returns the lid to its resting position.  The service was so efficient, you wonder if you should leave it a tip.  Fun as they are, I never did regard the manual raising and lowering of a toilet seat lid to be a burden, nor consider that pushing the flush handle burned too many calories.  Oh well, I guess a warm seat in the middle of a winter’s night isn’t all that bad.

So all hail ingenuity and look toward 2020 for further improvements.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, why not consider the dog treat launcher? Even if your loved one doesn’t have a dog, it’s perfect for a food fight!

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