My spouse and I have reached that stage of life when we are paring down, clearing out, tidying up. Amazing how much unnecessary junk one collects in a lifetime, especially having lived in the same house for almost half-a-century. Nine-tenths of what has accumulated could be tossed out and it wouldn't make a bit of difference in our lives.
Which is why my brain went all wonky when I flipped through the "EasyLife Lifestyle Solutions" catalog that came with the newspaper on Sunday. Thirty-four pages of items "You can't do without." Each one "You'll wonder how you ever lived without it." Starting with the folding aluminum ladder that "converts into nine positions." A veritable Kama Sutra of ladders! At my age, that's about eight more positions than I am capable of. Then there are products for expanding the waistbands of your pants, clip-on magnifiers for your reading glasses, hearing amplifiers disguised as Bluetooth head-sets, portable "carry-it-with-you" urinals, titanium knee supports, a magnetic "slouch preventer", and half-a-dozen devices for relieving lower back pain. Just when I'm trying to get rid of stuff, EasyLife wants to convert me to a new lifestyle of geriatric consumerism.
But it’s the watches and clocks that really got to me.
How can I do without the radio-controlled alarm clock that's "accurate to one second in ten million years"? That's more accuracy than I would have needed when I was half-a-century younger. Between now and the great by-and-by I don't think I will notice if I'm waking up a millionth of a second earlier or later.
Then there's the wall clock that has a different farm animal announce each hour. Moo. Oink. Woof. A light sensor puts the animals to sleep at night and wakes them up at dawn with a cock crowing. I can imagine flinging a shoe across the room to shut the damn thing up.
And what about the "talking watch," for those of us with failing eyesight. Touch a button and it speaks the time. I trust it also says things like "Is it too early to go to bed?" and "I think I'll just have a lie down and read."