If you don’t know what a fidget spinner is by now, you’ve been living under a rock or just woke up out of a coma. Marketed as an item for the ADHD afflicted, the fidget spinner is the fad of 2017. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out. These things are fun as hell.
There are many different types of spinners out there. Plastic, metal, light-up, mini, doubles, ones with superhero logos, even ones with Bluetooth speakers (Don’t buy those, I hear they can explode). All you need to get in on the craze is a plain ol’ plastic spinner with metal weights. They come in a variety of colors.
Where did they come from? Short answer: China. Long answer: I’m not really sure. In the mid-90s, an inventor named Catherine Hettinger submitted a patent for a Spinning Toy, a small UFO-shaped plastic disc that is “designed to be spun on the finger” for enjoyment. Wikipedia incorrectly credited her as having created the ’17 Spinner, a claim to fame that she’s using on her own Kickstarter page even though she’s confirmed it isn’t true. In the mid-10s, an IT guy named Scott McCoskery invented the Torqbar. It’s basically the same concept, but it’s only got two arms instead of three. Having not used either of these antecedent objects, I cannot say how fun they are. I can only repeat that the fidget spinner, sold wherever money is accepted, is very fun.
How does it work? Simply balance or grip the toy and spin, spin, spin. I get a hypnotic satisfaction from watching it spin. Momentum carries it for a satisfyingly long time. But be warned, you’re buying a $4 dollar toy, and they can wear down quickly. That’s why you get two. Not only for that, but so you can learn how to do tricks.
Tricks are the reason that fidget spinners have been banned in schools all over America. It’s an addictive pursuit, but also distracting and potentially very destructive. YouTube is full of fidget spinner trick videos with kids pulling off some amazing shit. All tricks start with learning to catch. Toss the spinner with one hand and grasp it mid-air. It seems easy, but from experience, it’s difficult as hell. But I’m also over 30.
Better than the trick videos are the fail videos. These things can break a lot of stuff. One kid even chips his tooth while trying to spin it on his tongue. Idiot.
Should you get yourself a fidget spinner? Absolutely, 100% yes. It’s not just a toy, it’s a fad. Fads are time capsules of a specific era. Specifically, the (usually very short) era when everyone thought this one thing was really cool. Fidget spinners are 2017’s entry into the Fad Hall of Fame, ready to stand with fads like Beanie Babies, Hoverboards, The Macaerna, Pogs, Snuggies, Chia Pets, The Clapper, the Ice Bucket Challenge, Magic Eye books, Pokemon Go and Weird Al Yankovic.
Seriously. Buy one, play with it for a week, then put it in a drawer. Your future kid is going to love it.