August 1, 2010

Latest fad for kids is self-descriptive

Every generation has its unexplainable fads. Items and activities and styles that just everyone — of a certain age — has to own or wear or participate in.

Some of these fads maintain their wild popularity for generations, like the yo-yo and beer-battered Pop-Tarts, while others quickly fade from memory (think Furbys or coonskin caps).

Virtually all of the diverse fads of the past century, however — from Pez to Pong to Pogs — have one thing in common: Each of them is at least a little cooler or more interesting than the current craze sweeping the youth of America.

Silly Bandz? This is what you kids are going to contribute to American culture? Not exactly Big Mouth Billy Bass, now is it?

Silly Bandz, for those of you without children, are simple rubber bands that come in many colors and shapes and are worn by our youth like bracelets.

Other companies have co-opted the idea — with names like Goofy Bandz, Fun Bandz, Crazy Bandz, Bandz on the Runz, Zilly Bandz, pSilly pBandz — to further spread what is a completely harmless, and completely lame fad.

The bandz are simply little pieces of extremely flimsy rubber that happen to be shaped like dinosaurs or wizards or toaster ovens ... but even that doesn't matter, since the objects lose their shape when they're on somebody's wrist. Still, rare is the preteen without a handful of these running up his or her arm.

Come on. At least an 8-track tape gave you ... something.

You can't play games with Silly Bandz, like prior generations could with hula hoops, Frisbees, Hacky Sacks, Rubik's Cubes, Pokemon cards, Slinkies, Atari 2600s, slap bracelets and Clackers.

You can't throw and catch them, like Nerf balls, Koosh balls, pet rocks, Happy Fun Balls, Magic 8 Balls and lawn darts.

You can't eat them, like Pop Rocks or Super Elastic Bubble Plastic.

You can't dance to them, like the Hustle, the Macarena and the Electric Slide.

You can't watch them grow, like Chia Pets, sea monkeys and Tamagotchi virtual pets.

Unless they're covering an ugly wrist scar, Silly Bandz can't improve your appearance, as bell bottoms, Nehru jackets, platform shoes, Farrah Fawcett haircuts, Keep on Truckin' T-shirts, temporary tattoos and legwarmers can.

You can't use them to cheer on your favorite team, like vuvuzelas, Terrible Towels, Homer Hankies and Rally Monkeys.

You can't hug them and squeeze them as if they're your very own beloved — if odd-looking — family members, like a Beanie Baby or a Cabbage Patch Kid or a troll doll or a Care Bear.

They're not helpful in daily life, like lava lamps, the Sony Walkman, soap-on-a-rope, hair extensions, mood rings, CB radios, Trapper Keepers, sneakers that pump up, sneakers with wheels and George Foreman grills.

Silly Bandz, frankly, are an embarrassment to the long and storied history of silly fads. At least they cost less than a Tickle Me Elmo. That's something, I suppose.

E-mail Steve Ouellette at:

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time