Will Techno Wonders Never Cease? Can They Still Increase?

Gadgets I Could Use

Rube Goldberg's self-operating napkin

We live in an age of techno wonders – drones, talking devices that tell us the time in Kuala Lumpur and how long to boil an egg. We can push a button on our smart phones to adjust the thermostat and raise the window shades. But helpless, hapless, middle-aged me still needs help.

Here’s a list of techno-assists I desire:

1. A loud (really loud) buzzer that blares when a certain someone in my home piles more garbage into/on top of the kitchen trashcan than it can contain.

2. A camera – much like the one that IDs traffic scofflaws who fail to pay tolls at bridges – to finger the kitchen culprit who uses the last of the mayonnaise, the mustard and any number of other essential cooking ingredients, but fails to list said items to the shopping list.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost track of the times I’ve gone to make dinner only to be stymied when I’ve reached into the pantry for one of those “always have on hand” pantry staples – only to discover it’s not there. Just last night, I was preparing my favorite chicken casserole. I reached for the canned cream of mushroom soup, but it was AWOL. A mad dash by a mad me to the market was required. Dinner was late and slightly undercooked.

3. An automatic glass tabletop washer, like at the carwash, that cleans the surface after every meal. Do I hear a collective “amen,” ladies?

4. A kitchen counter version of a Roomba that each night wipes down the surfaces and the sink. Won’t it be nice to be greeted each the morning by a bright shiny new day AND bright shiny counter surfaces! Can I get a second “amen,” ladies?

5. And how about a bathtub/shower stall Roomba? Scrub-a-Dub-Dub. Who would need those three men in a tub if I had some turbo-charged mechanized scrubber doing the work?

And Still I Want More Techno Wonders

6. A vegetable bin warning system that alerts me to wilting lettuce, droopy celery, and soggy carrots.

7. A secondary vegetable bin warning system that stops me from buying an unnecessary third head of lettuce and a fourth bunch of scallions at the supermarket when I’ve got enough produce at home to open my own vegetable stand!

8. A press-of-the-button bed-maker. Window treatments long ago went digital. Blankets are electric. Mattress pads too. So, why can’t our bedding get pulled up with the flick of switch or a voice command? It sure would be a plus for middle-aged muddlers like me with backs and knees that are especially stiff in the early a.m.

9. An unobtrusive flashing light on prescriptions, cosmetics, and groceries that alerts you when items have past their expiration date.

10. A self-emptying Roomba-like pooper scooper. What a joy to eliminate all that awkward bending required to deal with the dog’s never-ending eliminating! Again, what a boon to our poor aching backs and knees – not to mention noses and sensibilities!

11. A “smart” conveyer belt/robot that carries the groceries from the car into the house and puts them away.

I don’t mind figuring out recipes for the week or shopping or cooking, but the schlepping groceries into the car and then out just seems a task too much! And ow, now, that I’m older, it always aggravates my sciatica!

12. And finally, if only there was a tiny railroad track with a timer to take the garbage cans down to the street each week when the trash collection trucks come ’round.

It gets old chasing the garbage men down the street each week in my nightgown, begging them to come back. And now that I’m older, I don’t run as fast as I used to! My timer-based trash RR system would save me – and the trash collectors – a world of embarrassment!

Techno Wonders for Women Everywhere

I know. I should be content to live in a world of robotic alarm clocks and fancy light bulbs, smart security systems and fancy smart outdoor grills, but those items don’t address my simple housewife-y needs.

Handsome Hubby has his favorite household gadget, a salt gun, to annihilate bugs. Why won’t some kind inventor address my list, a list to solve the yearnings of  middle-aged American women, women who dream of techno-solutions designed to bring order to our chaotic domestic lives!


And about today’s image: it was drawn by Rube Goldberg (1883-1970), known for his wildly popular cartoons of gadgets designed to perform simple tasks in crazy, complicated ways. Goldberg also won a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartoons.

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