The other day, I was with my close friend at Carrefour, cruising down the youth section, as I stumbled across a shelf of fidget spinners.
I’ve seen fidget spinners all over the internet, especially being ridiculed by anyone who isn’t a kid, but I’ve never seen one actually being sold. I took a quick glance at the price: just under two dollars and I was able to buy into a dead meme? Yes, thank you, sign me up.
I grabbed the last fidget spinner on the shelf. It was covered in camouflage print, which I picked specifically in hopes that I would be able to make jokes about it. I took it to the check-out, the cashier immediately cocking her eyebrows as she saw my purchase.
For hours after my purchase, I wasn’t able to let go of the fidget spinner. I posted multiple videos of me using the fidget spinner onto social media, sending some directly to my friends. In return, I was blasted with comments of the laughing emoji and joking beggary of “Please leave that in 2017!” As entertaining as the responses were, the common theme of everyone’s response was: “Why?”
Why did I buy a fidget spinner at age 18?
At first, I did it as a joke. But as soon as I began spinning the device on my fingertips, I was hooked. It was so simple. In a day and age when we'd rather use our fingers to swipe and refresh our feeds on Instagram, the fidget spinner just became a substitute for my distracted hands, the opportunity to do something other than mindlessly refresh my feed.
I like to multi-task when I’m working because it triggers my brain to think in multiple perspectives and forces me work even harder than I would have if I had done only a single task. Ever since I purchased a fidget spinner, my hands stop reaching out to my phone when I'm restless; instead, they go to my fidget spinner.
Many people argue over whether fidget spinners, sometimes marketed as an antidote for ADD, anxiety, or autism, actually help children with learning disabilities. In my case, though, the device became an alternative to biting my nails endlessly or cracking my knuckles. (Instead, I'm greeted with a collective sigh as I pull out the fidget spinner.)
I found the rise of fidget spinners to be soothing. In a day and age where every gadget is the latest gaming console or the latest thousand-dollar iPhone, the arrival of a simple $2 toy reminds me of a simpler time where we just played with toy trucks and legos and the simple pleasure we gained from these toys. But even there, there's not much of a comparison: a fidget spinner is a fidget spinner, and it sparks multiple levels of creativity as people take to YouTube to showcase how to make one themselves at home or to decorate their own fidget spinner.
Furthermore, having a fidget spinner is the best conversation starter in 2018. As people playfully hate your participation in fueling a dead meme, people start asking you why you would own such a thing—which jumpstarts a conversation about how our society so quickly bandwagons onto certain trends, only to demonize them as soon as they become popularized.
Fundamentally, I wasn’t the target audience of fidget spinners, but in the past few weeks of endless senior year tasks, I've found that mine has helped me cope more than I expected.