Some of the things people dream up sure do beat all.

I ran across a product this week on my Facebook feed that makes me wonder just what inventors will come up with next.

It's called a "Nap Tent," and it's a small pop-up "pod" type of apparatus that covers your head and upper torso. There are similar products out there, but this one is black and blocks out the light. You can twist and fold it flat to about the size of a large dinner plate, then open it up so it makes a tiny "tent," pull back a flap and "insert" your head and shoulders.

The idea is to be able to take a nap anywhere ... leaned over at your desk at work, sitting forward in a chair at a coffee shop table and who knows where else.

Wouldn't a burlap sack do about the same thing? I guess you couldn't charge much for that, though.

As a big napper, you'd think I'd be excited about this product. But I'm conflicted.

I mean ... is this a ridiculous product or a genius invention?! I'm torn between being jealous of the folks who came up with this and wanting to put them on a pedestal in the town square and gather everyone around to point and laugh at them.

In the end, the consumer will decide. Demand, or lack thereof, for products like this will tell the tale.

I'd have to have one that blocked or muffled sound, too. One that has a tiny fan inside of it to circulate a little air and to make a soothing, droning sound would be an improvement.

Yes, if napping could be an occupation, I'd be a pro.

There's nothing better than a good nap. On a day off work, sometimes my biggest decision is whether to snooze a while in the recliner or on the couch.

The best napping is with a fan lightly circulating air and creating a droning sound to drown out other little noises, kicked back in the recliner or stretched out on the sofa, with a sheet or blanket to cover me up and -- sometimes -- a sleep mask to block out that pesky sunlight.

Even a beautiful day outside is a good time to nap. After all, there are plenty of hours in the day to get out and soak up the sun.

And I'm no short napper. Uh uh. A two-hour respite is just about right.

You all know what it's like: When we were kids, we hated naps. Our parents -- and, in my youth, teachers -- had to force us to get a few extra Z's. Now that we're adults, we look forward to them.

On Saturday afternoons, my mom had all four of us get blankets or our sleeping bags and lay down on the living room floor for a nap after lunch. My sister Kim would often fake being asleep, but somehow Mom always knew.

At Grandma Bauer's, we kids took naps on the living room floor and didn't argue. A grandma with a yardstick in her hand can be quite persuasive.

So-called pods in which to nap -- the mini ones or those in which you can sit or lay down -- kind of fall in the category of people being just a bit too spoiled these days, don't you think? Yet little luxuries have often been big hits.

Take padded toilet seats as an example. Lots of folks have appreciated that bit of cushioning in their lives.

Then there are pure novelties, like whoopee cushions. One of my nephews enjoyed the fun of those, and brought one to our family wiener roast last year or the year before. Just being silly, I aired it up and, with several family members watching, sat on it.

Only, my big backside broke the cheap little toy with a pretty loud pop. The startled look on my face cracked everyone up, so I guess the whoopee cushion was worth a laugh after all. I paid him $1 to get a new one, and all was right with the world.

Who thinks of these inventions? What determines which ones are hits and which ones are duds? Consumers are fickle.

I admit that my current vehicle has spoiled me quite a bit. It plays tunes from my iPhone automatically, and I can make hands-free calls just by pressing a button and telling the computer whom to call.

But I want more. How about voice-operated iTunes, where I can tell my smartphone which artist or song or playlist to play as I'm driving? That would eliminate the pesky need to set the playlist up at the beginning of my trip. Voice-activated navigation would be a nifty trick, too.

Oh, I know -- all of these things are coming, or are available on higher-end autos. These are just the kinds of things that remind me how spoiled I am.

Why, it was just two-and-a-half years ago that I traded my vehicle that still had manual levers to roll the windows up and down.

And it certainly doesn't seem that long ago that I got my first car, where the "ceiling" fabric was sagging down, so my sisters and Mom and Dad affixed it with various colored straight pens. Sure, that was nearly 30 years ago, but it did have fancy stuff like power steering and an automatic transmission, at least.

It had no tape player -- CDs? They hadn't been invented yet -- so I used a portable cassette player for choosing my own music beyond what the radio stations played.

Heck, now I don't even have to check the tire pressure manually. I just turn a switch a couple of times and the computer shows me each tire's pressure. But I'm old fashioned -- I still keep a tire pressure gauge (not even a digital one) in the glove compartment.

But I digress. Wasn't I talking about naps?

I bet many folks affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey -- and the incoming Irma -- wish they had just the basics, let alone a silly little tent in which they can nap. I suspect many of them don't even have a couch or recliner or bed in which to rest.

I hope they all get back the basics -- and more -- soon.

It's OK to spoil ourselves. It's wise to appreciate the little things, yet there's nothing wrong with wanting a bit of luxury, too.

But if anyone ever catches me someday utilizing a padded toilet seat and a "Nap Tent" at the same time, they can look back at this column and know just where everything went wrong.

Happy napping, everyone.

Penny Weaver is the associate publisher and editor of the JG-TC. Her columns include her own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinion or editorial position of the JG-TC. Contact her at or 217-238-6863, and follow her on Twitter @PennyWeaver.


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