Product: BackJoy
Price: $40-$60 depending on the model

I was prowling the aisles and doing some reporting at an ergonomics trade show in Las Vegas when someone leapt out of a booth and handed me an item that looked vaguely like a tractor seat. It was a gift, he assured me, and I should try it.

I put it in my “swag bag” and headed for a lecture by one of ergonomics’ luminaries that was about to start, in the ballroom at Caesar’s Palace. The chairs, lined up in rows, might have been okay for resting between dances at a wedding, but for listening to a lecture, they were incredibly uncomfortable.

I tried my usual remedies—shoving my rolled-up jacket behind me, sitting sideways, and lolling like a teenager in a boring math class. Nothing helped. Then I remembered: I had a BackJoy in my bag. I peeled the plastic wrapping (not unquietly) off and placed it beneath me.

The BackJoy is essentially an orthotic for your butt, making it impossible for your sitting bones to sink into the chair or for your sacrum to sag. I couldn’t believe it: the hellish chair was suddenly perfectly okay. In time, I discovered that a BackJoy could make any chair anywhere—even a bench at a sporting event in the freezing wind—into acceptable seating. I take it with me whenever I know there’s a long sit in my future. Understandably, every single time I go through security, the TSA guy or gal, who must perch for hours on a stool, asks me many detailed questions about it. I have never gotten one of them to stop using their fancy flashlight long enough to try it.