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WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF NEXT?

by Rose Madeline Mula

Theres nothing new under the sun.

That may have been true centuries ago when the phrase was attributed to an unnamed philosopher, identified only as the Preacher, in the Book of Ecclesiastes; but since then, WOW! Innovations have been coming at us at the speed of light.

Every time I think things have gone as far as they can, I remember the song from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma, that proclaimed, Everythings up to date in Kansas City. I counted twenty gas buggies goin' by theirselves, almost every time I took a walk, the singer reports, An' then I put my ear to a Bell telephone, an' a strange woman started into talk theyve gone about as fer as they can go

Hardly. Obviously theyve gone a heck of a lot ferer. Some buggies no longer need gas. They run on electricity. And no woman, strange or otherwise, talks to you when you pick up a telephone, Bell or otherwise. At least not a live one. Most likely youll hear a recorded voice not necessarily female. And that phone probably doesnt even have a wire; but it does play music and take pictures, and has a global positioning satellite system and Internet access and, who knows, soon maybe the ability to sprout wings and fly you to Mars.

The song continues: They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high, about as high as a buildin' otta grow Of course, todays skyscrapers actually do scrape the sky, while back in the Kansas City of yore, With every kind of comfort every house is all complete. You can walk to privies in the rain and never wet your feet! Theyve gone about as fer as they can go Not quite. Indoor privies have since morphed into luxury spas, with giant jacuzzis, tanning beds, toilets that flush automatically, and showers for two (or more) with dozens of power jets of spray.

All well and good, but I wish the brainiacs who have developed these wonders would turn their attention to more practical areas like designing a fitted sheet that will fold itself. I still havent figured out how to do it manually.

Also, how about a shopping cart that will survey your fridge and pantry, print out a shopping list of what you need and maybe even roll itself to the supermarket and collect your groceries. Okay, so that may be a bit unreasonable. Actually, Id settle for a cart whose wheels all go in the same direction.

And Id really appreciate a dishwasher that loads and unloads itself and stows all the clean dishes, glasses, flatware, and pots and pans in their designated places. Again, if thats too much to ask, how about one that actually delivers on its promise to clean those pots and pans of burnt-on food without any help from me?

I do have a robotic vacuum cleaner, but I dont know why. I dont really trust it, so I go over all the rugs with my electric manual vac anyway. And I still have to dust. Will someone please design a feather duster that can flutter around on its own, cleaning every surface, nook and cranny, including the ones I usually miss?

Oh, and you know what else would be great house plants with feet that could walk over to the kitchen sink and water themselves when theyre thirsty. All that droopy, dried foliage perched on various surfaces in my home does nothing to enhance its dcor.

A self-balancing checkbook would be another dream come true. Sure, there are computer programs that are supposed to achieve this result, but not independently you have to help it by activating the program and entering numbers and hoping the computer wont crash before youve finished. Much too stressful. (Come to think of it, a crash-proof computer would be nice, too.)

And, yes, theyve invented a car that can parallel park itself, but when will they give us one that will drive itself down the highway so I can concentrate on my cell phone calls, answer my email on my laptop, and use both hands to eat my sandwich without worrying that a cop is going to pull me over.

I know theyve also developed a windproof umbrella that will not blow inside out, even in a hurricane. But better yet would be a sunshine bubble that would encase you and your car wherever you go so youd never need an umbrella (or a coat or boots for that matter). A blizzard is raging and you need milk and pork chops? No problem. Just activate your sunshine bubble, slip on your flip-flops, and youre set to go.

Also, near the top of my wish list is a magic wand that I can wave over my lasagna and hot fudge sundae to absorb all the calories. In the meantime, Id like a scale that lies and tells me Ive finally lost those twenty pounds. And until someone develops a wrinkle cream that really works, how about a dishonest mirror, too?

Actually, that calorie-absorbing magic wand is second on my fantasy list. I just decided that something else deserves the No. 1 position: You know how some TV shows pluck a plain Before Jane from the audience and turn her into a gorgeous After before the end of the show? Well, Id like a makeover booth that would do the same thing. Id step inside, push a button, and out would pop robotic make-up brushes, hair styling tools, and Botox-loaded syringes that would whip around and do their magic while I took a ten-minute nap. Then, voila! Me After! At least I think its me I really dont recognize myself.

But back to more mundane matters: Id really appreciate drawers and cupboards that organize themselves, and closets that vaporize anything I havent worn in two years, as well as file cabinets that automatically shred contents Ill never need again.

And is there a botanist out there who can develop grass that grows only a couple of inches high and never needs mowing or watering but stays lush and green all summer. Oh, what the heck, all winter, too, while were at it.

Speaking of winter, until my fantasy sunshine bubble is invented, will some climatologist please find a way to direct all snow only to the mountains to keep the skiers happy, and off the walks and roadways to keep me happy?

The pundits say that a sure way to wealth is to find a need and fill it. There you go! Ive identified lots of needs. The rest is up to you. Ill trust you to split the profits with me when they start rolling in.

©2009 Rose Mula for SeniorWomenWeb

Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.

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