Fidget Spinners: Are They Good?

A very raw and honest review.

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May 15 2017, 5:19pm

Maybe you've heard about fidget spinners. Maybe you have not heard about fidget spinners. Regardless, fidget spinners are a thing. There is literally a New Yorker article about them being a metaphor for Trumps presidency. That's how you know.

Fidget spinners are comprised of three plastic prongs centered around a ball bearing axis. You spin a prong and hold the fidget spinner by its axis and it'll spin in a way that's both smooth and satisfying for around 30 seconds...and that's it. Fidget spinners!

I was recently given a fidget spinner and asked to "write about it" because "that's your job, to write." So here I find myself, presumably about 2-4 days away from the fidget spinner phenomenon being replaced by something else that's an even worse metaphor for Trump's presidency.

What is a fidget spinner, really? Does it work? Is it good? While many a think piece has been written about the allegorical meaning of the fidget spinner, few address these practical concerns. In order to find out, I wrote out a list of things I want to stop stressing about and tried to spin myself into a state of peace and harmony.

Ageing

I am 24, aka over the fucking hill. Just try being a 24-year-old in 2017. It's very hard! I personally would argue it is harder than being any other age. Last week I realized that, technically, I might not even be in my "early twenties" anymore. I'm moving into the "mid-twenties" bracket. Bad situation.

Here's the thing about being in your mid-twenties: You're a millennial, but not the good kind. You didn't grow up learning HTML code before you could speak, or whatever. As a kid, you still had to save up and buy CDs to access cool music. You had a computer at home, but you shared it with your siblings and it had dial-up internet. You came of age using MSN Messenger, and Nokia 3310s. You're a dinosaur, and although you have a firmish grasp of smartphones, memes, Kylie Jenner, and Riverdale, you'll never have more than 600 Instagram followers. You're losing relevance, fast. A 15-year-old is going to take your job next week, probably. Only 90s kids will understand.

So can a fidget spinner help?

Believe me when I say this: I find the Snapchat interface confusing, and counterintuitive. I have real difficulty understanding how to use it. About a year ago, I had to delete the app, out of shame. This is not a problem that a fidget spinners can solve, unfortunately. But I'll admit that for a few blissful seconds, holding this overhyped blue piece of plastic, feeling its weight, closing my eyes and listening to its faint and satisfying sound, that of a small wheel spinning and spinning and spinning into oblivion, I felt a small but palpable sense of control. And that helped a bit.

Monogamy

I am, to the incredible and badly-concealed surprise of those around me, in a committed relationship with a wonderful person. Unfortunately, love is hell. My relationship has erased my single gal neuroses but replaced them with a set of arguably more terrifying boyfriend-centric ones. I'm more of a mess in love than out of it.

Some things that trouble me about relationships: realizing you can spend all weekend in bed watching Silicon Valley with someone and feel fine about it. Experiencing all the weird privileges that your single friends don't get, and suddenly seeing the world for the heteronormative couple playground that it is. Losing all interest in partying or meeting new people. Developing an interest in crockery.

My boyfriend is great, which doesn't change the fact that all of this is deeply frightening.

Can a fidget spinner help?

Now that I know I can trick someone into loving me, the world seems somewhat absurd, to tell you the truth. Spinning a tiny wheel really, really, really, really fast is also absurd, so I guess it's just a matter of choice. Which would you rather concentrate on: spinny fidget thing, or the ongoing fear of being cheated on? I chose the wheel, and I'll never look back.

North Korea

Listen. At what point do we start being seriously worried about the nuke situation? It seems like we could definitely be more worried than we are, considering. Every day, a few more vague news stories break, but there's never a sense of alarm or urgency. I am just saying. I guess at this point it does seem like maybe the human race has run its course. We're done, perhaps. We tried really hard but it turns out that even after thousands of years of careful social and scientific progress, peak Western civilization is actually just electing a reality TV star as the leader of the free world. And we all must suffer accordingly. This is it, and that's fine.

Still, before closing my eyes to sleep at night I do worry a bit, about the North Korea thing. Doesn't take up as much anxiety space as Snapchat, but it's there.

Can a fidget spinner help?

This is a tricky one. Nuclear war is bad, and it's not like everyone in the UN can just pick up a hunk of distracting plastic and forget about that. I'm not in the UN though, so I guess I can. It takes a few spins, but a fidget spinner can definitely if momentarily, distract from the daunting prospect of the apocalypse. For best results, I recommend spinning in one hand, scrolling through Instagram with the other, while chewing gum at the same time. Kim Jong-who?

Money

Things could definitely be worse for me, money-wise. But they could also be far, far better. On the one hand, I have a job. On the other, that job is in the media industry. On the one hand, I went to university. On the other, I have a $40,000 student debt. On the one hand, I am renting an only slightly rundown inner city house with some friends who I like living with. On the other, I will probably be living with them for the next 30 years, because Australia is a country where even average suburban houses cost, literally, one million dollars. I worry about money a lot—it's probably something I should talk over with a therapist, except I can't afford one.

Can a fidget spinner help?

Not really!

Follow Katherine Gillespie on Twitter.

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