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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What do you think of the useless trifles?

What do you think of the useless trifles?

Nowadays, nearly every household in the country receives a barrage of various catalogues selling everything from electric golf carts to padded coat hangers. The descriptions of these items suggest that they, too, will help improve the quality of our lives by providing convenience, comfort, and shortcuts to improve our appearance. But so often these items are just superfluous, absurd trifles.

Whoever does the cooking has a great deal of work to do and anything to ease that workload is certainly appreciated by any home maker. Unfortunately, some of these clever items that claim to save time might actually end up making us waste time. Take, for example, devices to save time cutting. A specially designed cutter will slice six pieces of pie at the same time, each piece at the same size. Another device cuts an apple in thin slices and removes the core all in one shot. Still another removes the corn from the cob easily and quickly. Although these devices may save time in the actual cutting, just think of how much time the person lost trying to find the device in the first place and the cleaning it up afterward. The same problem applies to a hand-sized electric drink mixer. It might save the host or hostess some muscle but not aggravation when he or she finds the batteries are dead and there are none in the house.

Certainly anyone would also appreciate items that make our lives more comfortable but some of the items for the bath room border on the absurd. For about $8.00 you can buy an inflatable pillow to rest against in the bathtub. (It’s held secure by suction cups). An inch thick foam rubber pad will cushion you from the hard bottom of the tub as you bathe. Of course if it gets mildew on it. It might be better located in the trash can. Finally you can sit in comfort on the toilet on a plush toilet seat cover and listen to music from a radio built into a toilet paper container.

Comfort and convenience are carried to extremes in the area personal care. Without any real effort at all, or so the ads in these catalogues claim, you can go to bed and wake up feeling and looking better. After taking special pills to melt away excess pounds, you can crawl into your bed and let it massage you all night long (A curious electric device makes the bed vibrate). In addition you can rest your head on a wedge-shaped pillow that is supposed in help you sleep better. To protect your hairstyle while you sleep, you can do a special cap. To keep your chin from sagging, you can wrap a band around your face, under your chin, and up over the front part of your head. Finally, to prevent your eyes from getting puffy, all you need to do is slip on a water-filled face mask. Of course, if you wake up to find your mate gone, do not be surprised!

All of these items, whether they are designed to help us in the kitchen, comfort us in the bathroom, or improve the way we look and feel, are for the most part unnecessary. Rather than improve the quality of our lives, such items detract from it by wasting our time and money and cluttering up our cupboards and closets. And cluttering up our coffee tables are those stacks of catalogues offering more such useless trifles.