Monday, May 29, 2017

As The Fad Fidget Spins...

When I was a kid, there was a Saturday Morning TV series on CBS called The Dr. Fad Show. The show would spotlight inventions, usually toys aimed at kids. It's host was Ken Hakuta, aka "Dr. Fad", an entrepreneur/inventor who acquired the rights to introduce the "Wacky Wall Walker" octopus toys to the U.S.. I think the show had a much briefer lifespan than the article on Wikipedia indicates, but it sure didn't last long enough to highlight...the Fidget Spinner.

Or is it called The Handy Spinner? I've seen that name appear on some packaging, along with the basic, Hand Spinner. The product has flooded the marketplace and general populace of the planet like the McGuffin in a Doctor Who alien invasion storyline and comes in a variety of shapes and colors, the basic model is shaped like a 3-blade propeller that resembles a plastic holder for old subway/bus turnstile fare tokens from the late-80s/early-90s. It functions like a pinwheel without a handle. You can spin it like a roulette wheel on a flat surface...or hold it while it's spinning with your thumb & index fintertip secure on the center. The use of ball bearings in each of its blades implies a centrifugal force that keeps the spinner spinning for a long duration - SCIENCE!

They often appear cheaply made and are available for 5 bucks and up, with little distinction in quality control. If it you bought it cheap, you got it cheap; if you bought it for over 10 must've been one of those people who spent the same amount of money back in the early-2000s for plastic candy dispensers shaped like old flip phones.

It's being marketed as a new stress toy, like those metal balls you might've seen Lawrence Fishburne fondle in Boyz In Da Hood, or foam balls or balls on pendulums or yo-yos or anything else created to either preoccupy you from biting your nails or delay that nervous breakdown you're on the verge of at the office...or if your phone's battery dies. I'm tempted to assume that the shift away from massaging spherical objects as a form of relaxtion was to put an end to "That's what he/she said!" wisecracks about juggling balls, but I want to take the high road and assume those were a passing fad. Who didn't get bored playing with those balls after a while?*

I gotta tell 'ya...I don't really find those spinners relaxing. I think watching the spinning motion makes me a bit nauseous and anxious for the end of it, but I had to have one. It reminds me of the Loituma Girl or "Windmills of Your Mind" or Technotronic's "Spin That Wheel" from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack...It's cute, though. Honestly, it looks like the ultimate thneed, like some new product that the Once-Ler made from spare parts of old discarded thneed factories.

I predict the end of this trend will happen before the summer of 2017 reaches its dog days...or when some square morning news anchor decides to cover it as "The next big thing," which is precisely when it stops being next and becomes what it was.

You don't need Dr. Fad to offer that diagnosis..but I'm not sure if our heathcare can afford him anymore..hmm..I think I'm getting why those spinners caught on...

*That's what HE said.

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