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Molloy: A whirling new trend

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“You spin me right round, baby. Right round like a record, baby.”

— Dead Or Alive

Friends, I must ask, do you own a fidget spinner? I can’t see who raised their hands, so I’ll just go ahead and assume that you do. The next question of course would be, why? Again, I won’t be able to hear your answers, so I suppose it was a bit dull of me to even ask now that I think of it, but, hey, we all do dumb things from time to time.

So ... the fidget spinner. In the 1970s we had the pet rock, which hailed as the best pet to have, because it needed no food, water or attention. So, of course, it sold millions.

In the 1980s there was the lucky rabbit’s foot keychain, which never really granted us any luck and certainly there was none to be had for the rabbit. The '90s brought us the Tomagatchi, a digital pet that you were to care for until it ultimately died from neglect.

It seems that throughout modern times there has always been some crazy trend or fad item that seems to come out of nowhere and ends up in our pockets or taking up space on a shelf.

And now the time has come for the fidget spinner to have its 15 minutes of fame. Essentially these spinners are little more than a triangular piece of plastic that’s hugging four wheel bearings. And what do you do with it? Well, if the name didn’t tip you off, you spin it. That’s all. True, you can act like a fidgeting expert and balance it on your finger while it rotates, but that’s about all there is to it.

Don’t get me wrong, fidgeting toys have been around for some time, but they’ve typically been used for physical therapy. The ones that are being sold now are for everyone — and once you start to collect them you can also start to customize each one with different bearing or elements which makes doing nothing seem like a well-thought-out task.

The strangest part of all is the fact that it totally works. I was getting groceries this week, and while I’m used to seeing toddlers losing their minds in shopping carts while playing on iPads, I couldn’t help but stare at this one kid who had a spinner with him and he was literally enthralled with his new toy. I must have been in the store for about an hour and at each aisle we would pass one another and every time he never looked up once but instead kept flipping that spinner to his heart's delight.

So now I’m at a crossroads, because while I think this product might be in the top 10 of the world’s dumbest inventions I also kind of want one. Who knows, maybe I’ll find it relaxing or maybe it’ll just end up in my drawer next to the Rubik’s cube I’ve still yet to solve.

Auburn native Bradley Molloy’s column appears here each Sunday. He can be reached at


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