2017-06-16 / Commentary

My head is fidget spinning

40–Something

In the glorious tradition of Silly Bandz, the Pet Rock, and many other ingenious ideas I wish I’d come up with, the fidget spinner is now the latest and greatest hot gadget for kids.

So what is a fidget spinner?

It’s a handheld spinning toy that was originally billed as an antidote for autism, ADHD, and anxiety. I know nothing about that. I just know my 14- year-old son, who only suffers from an affliction known as puberty, came home with one the other day. His friend gave it to him because... well, he’s a friend... and it had rusted a bit and lost some of its spinning speed.

That didn’t seem to matter to my son.

He said and I quote, “It’s VERY fun.”

“What does it do?” I asked.

“It spins.”

That simple answer made me recall the days when Santa would bring these magnificent toys to our house and work like a dog through most of the night connecting all their bells and whistles, and what did my kids prefer?

...The boxes the toys came in.

So, I pressed further, “... AAAANNNNDDD?” “That’s it. It spins.”

Suddenly, I wondered where I had gone wrong.

Not that I was perfect as a young man struggling through the early teenage years. I mean, I did have a massive collection of painters’ caps at his age that I proudly hung on my bedroom wall. I also had a Rubik’s Cube. I’m not proud, but those things served some purpose ...right?

A hat is a hat...even if it’s made of thin paper and I never actually painted anything in any of them. The Rubik’s Cube is a puzzle. Granted, mine sat scrambled until I could find someone to solve it for me, but I tried. I think it took a tremendous amount of skill to get the thing as messed up as I did.

Again I’m not questioning a fidget spinner’s therapeutic value for some, but my son isn’t getting help from it, and I suspect neither are a vast majority of kids helping its inventor retire beachfront in Maui.

“So, it just spins?” I questioned one more time.

“Well, you can do tricks...I just haven’t learned any yet...YouTube is loaded with things you can do with them.”

Suddenly, I pictured an early ’90s Mountain Dew commercial with a bunch of young beautiful people jacked up on caffeine performing extreme fidget spinner stunts while screaming, “WOOHOO! Spin, baby, spin!”

But that didn’t exactly fit. I mean, they weren’t boogie boarding down waterfalls or base-jumping off cliffs. They were spinning a toy between their fingers.

A more realistic picture would have been a circle of stoners hanging out in a basement under a cloud of smoke marveling at these things.

“ Duuude... watch it spin. It’s...it’s mesmerizing.

“Yah. Duuude.”

That’s the only way I could think these things would be “VERY fun.”

But who am I to judge? It wasn’t like my son blew his allowance on paper hats.

Ahem. In fact, he didn’t spend any money, and he’s also capable of enjoying this new toy without the aid of carcinogens. So as long as my son continues to get out of the house a good bit and doesn’t start making YouTube videos, then I guess there could be worse things than fidget spinners.

Maybe I’ll start using one to help me deal with the anxiety I’m experiencing because I didn’t come up with the idea.

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