Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Witz Pickz: What the F*ck Are Silly Bandz
The other day, while walking along the street with C-Murder, I was introduced to Silly Bandz. They were being sold by some vendor on the sidewalk.
C-MURDER: I wish I'd invented Silly Bandz.
ME: What the hell are Silly Bandz?
C-MURDER: They're the cool new shit all the kids are into.
ME: What are they?
C-MURDER: Like, rubber bands in different shapes.
ME: That's it?
ME: Wait, so of anything you could have invented in this hypothetical, you wish you had invented Silly Bandz?
C-MURDER: Eh, shut up.
Have you heard of these things, because I definitely had not. Apparently, the new hotness is these rubber bands shaped like all kinds of things: animals, dinosaurs, cars, miscellaneous symbols, sports object, and on and on. They are selling MILLIONS of them and at $4.95 per pack, are grossing an estimated $200 million a year. Now, I remember Slap Wraps, the cool, crazy, massively ill-advised, lawsuit worthy, wrist accessory of the early 90's that introduced children to both fashion AND wrist-slitting. Those probably seemed dumb to people, but at least they made sense-- they were action packed and had distinguishable designs. When you put a Silly Band on your arm, it doesn't matter what it was BEFORE, they just become colored (sorry, African-American) rubber bands.
So, like...HOW DUMB HAVE KIDS GOTTEN? I mean...they're RUBBER BANDS-- which are basically one step up from the "Bag O' Glass" toy from the SNL sketches. There has to be something more to this trend, you know, like Mardi Gras beads or tear drop tattoos. Maybe if you own the "Western Pack" it means you shot three Latin Kings.
Then again, maybe they're just a depression era throwback toy-- when bottle caps and jacks were enough to occupy an afternoon. As my roommate, Kid Fitted, said, "I see them more as a return to form. 'Fuck PSP, I want a rubber band shaped like a giraffe on my arm.'"
Either way, Silly Bandz are going to end the same way Slap Wraps did: with a major lawsuit. They're rubber bands. They cut off circulation if they're too tight, and you just know, somewhere in America, there is a little kid who's going to go to sleep with their Silly Bandz on and wake up in need of an amputated limb (which is my fifth greatest fear after snakes, spiders, deep water, and my inevitable return to office work).
Now, as proven many times before in my hard hitting investigative reports based primarily on wikipedia entries, I'm no fly by night journalist. I decided I needed to try and understand these children, so I took the liberty of reading all of the letters from children posted on the silly bandz site. Here's what I learned:
1) They're still teaching cursive in school. I have no idea why, since there are only two times I ever have had to write in cursive. The first time was to copy some paragraph saying I wouldn't cheat on the SAT's (which was one of the harder parts of the SAT's), and to sign my name. Why does cursive have the lockdown on signatures, anyway? Does it even matter, given that few signatures actually look like actual letters? Maybe it's time to teach kids spanish and skip the extraneous font styles. It's like teaching kids how to write in Book Antiqua.
2) Kids are goddamn enthusiastic which can be used for great good or great evil. Take "Greysen S" for example. On the one hand, he's being creative. On the other hand, he's spending time thinking up new rubber band bracelets for someone else to make so he can buy them.
Yikes, Greyson, yikes. This is why you're buying Silly Bandz and not selling Greysen Bandz. Also, if you go through the letters, you'll notice that nearly every child has one idea that can only be described as a "sword penis."
Erin, of Ohio says (not altered), "The reason why I like Silly Bandz is because there not just bracelets and rubber bands they are bracelets that turn into animals and peace signs! I think that is so neat and smart to think of that idea." I look forward to seeing Erin in a drum circle at Golden Gate Park in about fifteen years.
This is what happens when you combine Silly Bandz with ADHD:
I want the kid from Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side to read that letter so badly! Also, bad news, Connor, but you won't be getting any silly necklaces.
"What about the silly necklaces makes them silly?"
"Oh, well, they strangle you."
I decided to conclude my research with an interview...with my sister, Switz...who teaches elementary school kids and works with young gymnasts, too:
ME: What can you tell me about Silly Bandz?
SWITZ: They are the SHIT if you're in elementary school. They're the latest craze.
ME: That's what I'm learning.
SWITZ: Yeah, all the kids at school/gym wear them-- they wear like 50 at a time.
ME: But when you wear them, they all look the same, right??
SWITZ: Yeah, it's like wearing an entire box of colored rubber bands.
ME: And what about regular colored rubber bands?
(regular colored rubber bands)
SWITZ: Not cool.
ME: Still not cool.
SWITZ: Nope. The silly bandz all take the shape of things. Even though half of them look like nothing distinguishable and the other half look mildly obscene.
ME: I've noticed.
SWITZ: How did you hear about them?
ME: I saw them being sold on the street by one of the guys who usually sells fake DVDs.
SWITZ: Sounds about right.
Right on cue, Borders sent me a coupon for Silly Bandz this morning. I might not understand them, but one thing's for sure, just like pogs, beanie babies, M.A.S.K., Sky Commanders, Erector Sets, Popples, and laser discs, Silly Bandz are here to stay.
Wearing Over 20 Silly Bandz Stands For Your Parents Spending Too Much Money on Bullshit Toys,