Always count on me to miss a trend.

I unloaded my millions in holdings of Apple when I heard the iPod was coming. Who would pay for a credit-card sized gizmo with hundreds of crystal clear songs?

I told my young son to ignore Tickle Me Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine and Pokemon. They would never catch on. Ditto Chia pets and Rubik’s cube. Adkins diet, the South Beach diet, the grapefruit diet. Nope. I bet on the pizza diet.

At this rate, I’ll retire when I’m 89 and penniless.

You’d think I would learn, and there really is no excuse this time around.

The latest fad is so simple, so low cost, so suited to these times of staying home and hunkering down around the electronic hearth to watch “Lost.”

It’s the Snuggie.

Yes, I know, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I never tried half of those other things either, and that didn’t stop me from scoffing and failing to make a killing.

This thing is a blanket. A blanket with sleeves. It’s a big, fluffy fleece poncho. If you wear it right, you look like Spock’s dad on “Star Trek” or the Jawas in “Star Wars.” If you ever read “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss, you’ll recognize this as a thneed, which the narrator tells “everyone ... everyone ... everyone needs!”

So it seems. It’s been on the market – as seen on a TV near you – for less than six months, and they’ve already sold 4 million of them. It’s the hottest thing since ...well, it might be the only hot thing in this brutal economy?

Why didn’t I see this coming? Why didn’t I invest in fleece and holes? It’s so intuitive. If half the country is sitting on the couch, clipping grocery store coupons and shivering because the thermostat is set at 55, this is the perfect capital investment.

And how long will it be before we see people in the aisles of the grocery store, in the stands at a football game, in the pew at church wearing a Snuggie? Tell me that in America the Casual this cannot happen. Maybe this is a step toward the future as seen in those sci-fi movies in which everyone basically wears one Spartan but brightly colored uniform.

If that’s the case, I should get in on this, but I’m afraid I might lose my shirt.

No, the best ideas are usually those dredged up from the past and recycled. So if you don’t mind, I have to go. I’ll retire to my study, the one with shag carpeting and wood paneling. I’ll fire up the fondue pot and gaze at my collection of pet rocks, from which I draw inspiration. Then I’ll meditate deeply and try to divine the next Big Trend.

My Magic 8-Ball says it’s a cold winter, so give some thought to electric socks.