A couple weeks ago, in a store with my two grandsons, 13-year-old Jacob showed me something he called a fidget spinner.
He put it on his finger and, well, spun it. Pretty cool, said I before moving on.
When we got to his home he had a package from Amazon. It was a fidget spinner he had ordered. Wow, thought I. What’s the story with these things?
It took a while, but when I read this week that fidget spinners had been banned at River Oaks Elementary School because they were distracting students, I realized what a fad these had become in young lives.
Seems fidget spinners are the latest in a long line of toy crazes, ranging from hula hoops to super balls to Rubik’s Cubes to Beanie Babies.
Our own experience with a toy craze came with the long-ago obsession with Cabbage Patch dolls.
It hit in 1983 and in no time every little girl in the world had to have a Cabbage Patch doll.
Our daughter Lori was among them and as Christmas approached we scoured the stores. When we heard through the neighborhood grapevine that such-and-such a store had some, our prayers (and Lori’s) were answered.
Christmas was good and all was well for several months – until a dastardly crime was committed on our front steps.
Lori and a friend were outside when a boy they didn’t know came by and suggested they play hide-and-seek. They should hide; he would come find them.
So they hid. And waited. And waited.
Finally, they came out and realized the boy was gone – and so were their Cabbage Patch dolls.
We were angry enough to call the police and two officers showed up to take a report.
It quickly became apparent that no crime was too small for Milwaukee’s finest and as they spoke to Lori, I still remember one exchange:
Officer: “What were their names?”
Officer: “The dolls.”
As he said it, he looked at me and half-whispered: “I love the names.”
I was impressed enough by the police officers’ handling of this third-rate burglary that I wrote a front-page story for my paper, The Milwaukee Journal. It ran under the ingenious headline: “Guise and Dolls.”
The day after it appeared, a group of nuns who were avid police supporters came to our home and gave Lori a Cabbage Patch doll. A picture of a smiling Lori and her new doll appeared in the next day’s Journal.
And that brought one more surprise: The mother of the boy who had taken the dolls saw the picture, questioned her son and made him return them.
I’m not sure Jacob’s fidgety thing will give us the same memories, but if they do, I’ll be ready to spin them for all our readers.
Contact Bob Bestler at firstname.lastname@example.org.