The end of the twentieth century ushered in many new concepts, which will became the "in-products" of the turn of the millenium. Some of these include the grunge look from the West Coast, the "just do it" concept of the fitness craze, and of course the nicotine patches which promise to eliminate the cigarette addiction of our nations young and old. These patches have also become a status symbol expressing an independent attitude toward life. In fact, many patch wearers proudly roll up their sleeves to show their friends and relatives they are in the process of beating the nicotine monkey.
The popularity of the patches promoted today's entrepreneurs to produce a variety of new products. Some of these could include a shirt or blouse which has the patch sown into the sleeve. This would eliminate the necessity to roll up the sleeve to show off the nicotine patch. It would also necessitate the manufacturer to produce different color patches to go along with the garment. Of course, the designers of today would have to produce designer patches that would not only come in different colors but would also have subtle yet very noticeable labels etched in them. For example, Express or Limited patches would become the rage. An obvious concern would be that in order for people to become part of the in-crowd they would first have to take up smoking and then yearn to get rid of the habit. The tobacco companies would like this situation. But, hopefully placebo patches would be produced.
Why stop at nicotine patches. If the popularity of patches becomes a status symbol, why can't a variety of products be produced to accomplish a variety of results? Already an estrogen patch exists which promises to allow an older woman to survive menopause without the usual cold sweats and nervousness. So why not caffeine patches that would allow the wearer to get his or her caffeine high without having to resort to drinking a cup of coffee. A classic tangent on this product could be the gourmet coffee patch that would leave the wearer with a taste of vanilla or chocolate.
Another product could be a stress patch that would relax the wearer and make him or her more able to cope with today's anxieties. How about a biological clock patch that would allow the wearer to be able to sleep for a full eight hours without having to resort to Valium. A Prozac patch would naturally follow yet I am not sure if such a patch already exists today. Even our children would not have to worry about taking Ritalin at certain times of the day. They would simply wear the patch. A sexual enhancing patch would surely be right around the corner allowing the wearer to get in the mood at specific times of the day. I wonder if such a patch would be delivered in a brown paper package.
The end of the 1990's brought us smart drugs that promised to enhance one's curiosity and intelligence. This logically could evolve into smart patches. In fact, the smart patches could be broken down into left brain patches that would enhance objective reasoning and right brain patches that would enhance philosophical and artistic understanding. These patches could be coded with an "R" or an "L". Can you imagine if everyone in our military wore the wrong patch?
The list of possible patches is unlimited. Because the wearer might want to take advantage of these products, small multi-patches would have to be produced. I can foresee color-coded patches so the wearer could understand, through the use of a color patch key, what they are wearing. The many uses of the patch could possibly produce an entire shirt or blouse made up of only patches designed to produce the perfect person or at least the perfect person of our new millenium. Yet, it is also probable the patch of the new millennium would be called the anti-patch patch.
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine