“Fidget Spinner”

For Father’s Day this year, I received from my granddaughter a high grade fidget spinner. Out of curiosity I went online to read articles about this phenomenon.

When I was in junior high school, the rage became the Duncan yo-yo. The company manufacturing them had just come out with a new type of string which allowed an experienced yo-yo artist to perform all kinds of tricks. A few years later, my dad brought home a handful of plastic tubes connected end to end and we spent the summer trying to perfect the art of hula hooping.

And now we have the fidget spinner. More than a toy, it is purported to relieve anxiety and help the distracted child focus. I read several articles arguing that Catherine Hettinger had invented the “fidget spinner.” Back in 1993 and in 1997 she had secured a patent and tried to convince Hasbro Inc. to manufacture it. Having studied her “finger spinner” and the new fidget spinner, they are nothing alike. And so the inventors of the fidget spinner have nothing to worry about. She allowed her patent to lapse in 2005. In 2016, the current fidget spinner was patented and began being manufactured. With increased popularity as teachers began to find it a useful tool for children with Attention Deficit Disorder and hyperactive children, it became the rage in schools across the world.

But I want to take credit of inventing the original fidget spinner back in 1953 because I also was ADHD. I would take my wooden ruler out of my desk and spin it on the point of my #2 pencil, keeping myself occupied and from daydreaming while my teachers tried to impart the wisdom of the ages into my young mind. Thinking I was simply goofing off and not paying attention, my ruler spent more hours in the teacher’s desk than mine.

Over the years, from clicking the top of a ballpoint pen to just simply spinning something on a table, I have continued to fidget, and now I have an authentic six-pointed fidget spinner. But I doubt that it will be appreciated in meetings and counseling sessions. After all, what some find relieves their anxiety creates anxiety in others.

May God help us as we seek to pay attention to ourselves and each other so that we will not spin out of control.