Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spin doctor

“Did you know if someone turns red they might have Scarlet Fever? We read about it in class. The boy in the Velveteen Rabbit turned red, and they said he had Scarlet Fever. They had to burn everything in his room. It was sad.”

My son is a font of tragicomic wisdom.

I tell him to wash his hands before dinner.

“Did you know a girl was dragged into the water by a sea lion? The news said it was the quick thinking of a man nearby that saved her, but I think she was just lucky the sea lion didn't swim off with her. It was scary.”

“Set the table, please.”

“Did you know that tops were probably the first fidget spinner? They date back to infinity. Maybe even beyond. I think Buzz Lightyear said that.”


“Sam's going to sell me his fidget spinner for a dollar,” my son getting to his main point as I was plating dinner. “Did you know that fidget spinners have probably been around for decades. His fidget spinner isn't that old, though. It came from Five Below last week.”

He really is a spin doctor.

Fidget Spinners – in case you don't have a 9-year-old boy of your own -- are these rotating toys that dropped into a few YouTube videos in late March and somehow materialized in the pockets of elementary schoolers everywhere by the beginning of May.

The spinners most often consist of three rotary bearings set into plastic, metal or ceramic cases that, when pinched between one's thumb and forefinger, can spin forEVER™.

They are billed as “stress relievers” and good for kids with attention deficits, though no studies have been proffered to bolster such claims. And of course, they have become collectable, running between a few bucks to a few hundred bucks.

Not that I want to be a naysayer.

Even I – the great and powerful user of the word “NO!” – have to admit the sensation of having a virtually silent and perfectly balanced rotating gizmo circling atop my fingertip was an unexpectedly satisfying experience.

“He didn't want it.”


“Sam! The kid I was telling you about with the fidget spinner from Five Below.

“It had a wonky bearing or something, and it didn't spin for more than a minute. Sam said he had others that were better so he'd sell me the wonky one for a dollar. I think I can fix it. It's probably just an unbalanced bearing or an ill-fitting finger pad. I could probably strip it down and rebuild it from scratch.”

Honestly … I was just staring at his lips by this point.

None of it made sense to me.

Almost as if he were speaking in tongues.

How long could this last? How soon until these spinney toys go the way of Zhu Zhu Pets and Silly Bandz and Bakugans?

“Even if I can't fix it, it would be worth it to customize. I could take the bearings out and marbleize it by running it through a bath of water and spray-paint.”

I don't like where this is going.

“You are not spray-painting my bathtub.”

“Hey! I wouldn't do that. … But I would clean the tub for the bargain price of $4. … I'd even throw in the sink for an extra fifty cents. I found an Anti-Spinner on Amazon.”



“That sounds like this spin cycle's already at its end point.”

“No. It's just marketed that way. It's just got a different rotation.”

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