Come In Fidget Spinner

I have no idea. I don’t know what purpose they serve and I find their popularity a source of continuing bafflement. Others can resort to extreme measures to secure the last of what appears to be a finite resource, but I won’t be among those clenching their fists and pleading to the gods to intervene. No sir, not me. For I have heard this particular tune one too many times before and I know better than to give my heart and soul to some craze that will last about as long as a litre of milk left in the sun. The world may well be in love with ‘fidget spinners’ but I remain immune.

I feel for the kids, though. That deep-seeded and burning need to have something that everyone else already has but that your stingy parents have not seen fit to bestow upon you; it’s something you carry right through to adulthood. To this day, I struggle to understand how it is that those who – allegedly – were responsible for my welfare, did not feel the same sense of urgency to purchase a yo-yo from Brammell’s Milk Bar that I did. For reasons that I still consider utterly unfathomable, they prioritized other things such as health, education, food and clothing above yo-yos. How misguided.

When a person raises a subject with you four hundred times a day, you’re likely to go either one of two ways. Either you’ll knuckle down and resist, even if it gets to the point that it’s sheer lunacy to do so, or you’ll eventually fold like a load of washing. When it came to Donkey Kong, my parents dug in. Hard. Given that my father referred to TV as ‘chewing gum for the eyes’, he doubtless considered hand held video games to be ‘crack for the soul’. Hell would sooner freeze over than he would cough up his hard earned for Donkey Kong. He’d probably say it was for the best. I, on the other hand, believe it severely impeded my development.

I was reduced to begging for a turn from someone else’s game. It was an act of shame. It quickly emerged that there was a pecking order – even when it came to begging - and I was some considerable distance from the top. Play lunch only lasts for so many minutes and demand greatly outstripped supply. It has left me unprepared. To this day, if I step into the street and find a whole bunch of barrels being rolled in my direction by a monkey, I’ll have no idea what to do.

Even when they did eventually capitulate to my unrelenting demands, there was always the risk they might get it ever so slightly wrong. For example, instead of getting Donkey Kong you might end up with something that almost looks like Asteroids but isn’t and where all the instructions are in another language. I suspect my father reasoned that these were life skills I was more likely to use, given that the chances of being invaded by a life form from another planet are probably slightly higher than having barrels hurled at you by an angry primate.

Already, I’ve noticed some of the local shops are advertising ‘Finger Spinners’. How I wish that this was a mere typographical error, but I suspect that darker forces are at play. ‘Finger Spinners’ are probably a lot like ‘Fidget Spinners’ except that they’re not and, frankly, you might as well turn up to school with a wet fish to play with at lunchtime, for all the good a ‘Finger Spinner’ will do you. Like everyone else, I desperately wanted a ‘Rubik’s Cube’, and an inferior knock off was always going to fail to scratch that seemingly insatiable itch. Suffice to say, no one wants to be seen with ‘Rudy’s Cube’ at school, much less the dodecahedron-shaped perversion that I got saddled with.

Sometimes getting it wrong is a finely balanced thing; where the difference between the soul-nourishing warmth of conformity and the desert-island isolation of being ever so slightly different is a hair’s breadth. Speaking directly from personal experience, it’s a tough day when you arrive with your new Fanta yo-yo to discover that everyone else has opted for Coke. I think it’s the shame of having your colours suddenly nailed to the mast and revealed as unforgivably different. Even though I secretly adored Fanta (a passion I maintain to this day), I still wasn’t ready to be seen with it in public.

Fads, of course, come and go, but social stigma is forever. I don’t want to add to the pressure that is almost certainly building at your place, but people should take care when selecting their ‘Fidget Spinners’. Speaking from personal experience, you really don’t want to get it wrong. Sure, they’re probably a colossal waste of time, money and emotional resources, but they represent so much more. They represent inclusion of a uniquely cruel, unforgiving and savage kind.

So you’ll excuse me if I sit this one out. I’ve been burned before. If you think that makes me some kind of social pariah, I can only say that it’s not the first time such an accusation has been hurled in my general direction. But I’ll be okay. I intend to lock the door and stay inside for a while, entertaining myself with my Fanta yo-yo, ten-sided Cube and hand held Asteroids game that isn’t quite Asteroids. For when it comes to Fidget Spinners, it will all be over soon enough.