Sleeping, walking the dog, rocking the baby and going around the world.
Those were some of my favorite pastimes as a kid.
Those, if you’re not familiar, are yo-yo tricks.
I hadn’t thought about yo-yoing in years. Not until I learned today is National Yo-Yo Day.
When I was in fourth or fifth grade and swept up in the ‘90s yo-yo craze, I thought about it almost all day, every day. I coveted the fancy Yomega Fireballs and Brains some of my friends carried in their pockets. But I was still proud of the tricks I could perform with the less-expensive Duncan Butterfly in my own pocket. I brought it everywhere I went.
Speaking of pockets, you could tell someone was a dedicated yo-yoer if a pocket of his or her jeans had the outline of a yo-yo worn into it.
When we were banned from playing with yo-yos on the school bus, my friends and I were indignant, but we complied.
Still, I played with my yo-yo so much, that even when I put it down for the day, I could feel a ghost string wrapped around my finger.
I was sitting on my parents’ porch on Saturday, trying to remember that feeling, so I could describe it in this column, when Mom stepped out on her way to the store. She asked if I needed anything there, and I paused for a moment, then asked if I could tag along.
At the store, I beelined for the toy isle. There was only one yo-yo option there: a cheap off-brand. It was neon-orange and instantly reminded me of my childhood.
I bought it, along with some junk food I didn’t need. (Never go shopping when you’re hungry. But I digress.)
I took the yo-yo out of its packaging and tested it in the store parking lot. I was a little disappointed when it wouldn’t sleep (spin at the end of the string), but what did I expect for $1?
I figured I’d play with it for a bit to get the yo-yo urge out of my system, and that would be the end of it.
The more I guided the toy up and down its string, the more I wanted to attempt some tricks. And before I knew what was happening, a Brain and Fireball two-pack was in my Amazon.com shopping cart. I snapped out of the trance (that neon-orange circle going up and down must have hypnotized me), when the order confirmation email came through.
Did I have a yo-yo string around my finger, or was it the yo-yo that had me wrapped up?
What is it about such a simple toy that’s so enrapturing?
Maybe it’s that simple.
The popularity of the yo-yo has gone up and down over the years, and manufacturers have added new spins to the toy, but it remains fundamentally fun.
So, to my fellow past and present yo-yoers, happy National Yo-Yo Day.
May the centripetal force be with you.