Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Publisher's Corner: 05/15/2017

Toys R Not Us

My colleague and I were having a philosophical discussion about the skill level necessary for using a yo-yo compared to juggling three balls in the air. How we got to this conversation I can’t remember.

She, we’ll call her Sarah, mentioned during our high-brow debate that she is incapable of making a yo-yo do the basic down-up move. I didn’t believe her, convinced that even a chimpanzee could figure that out in a couple of minutes. So in the name of science I bought a yo-yo and she gave it a go. Sarah could not get the yo-yo to come back up at all, resorting to yanking it and tangling the string like a wad of fishing line.

Let me be clear, I can’t do much with a yo-yo except the basics, but I can do that pretty well.

I suggested Sarah could do the required 10,000 hours to master the toy (a la Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers), or be tutored by Kenwood yo-yo master Tommy Smothers.

Sarah politely told me to get a life and went back to work.

But all this got me thinking about the many toys I could never master. Was I too lazy or were these toys above my skill level?

The hula-hoop – looks fun, right? I could not get that darn thing to rotate once, let alone for a sustained amount of time. It’s stupid, anyway.

Pogo-stick – I would practice this one, determined to be bouncing down the sidewalk in no time, waving to the admiring masses. Unfortunately, I would always end up on the ground, bleeding. Into the back of the garage it went.

Boomerang – This is an awesome flying thing I thought would change my life. Heave it and it comes right back to your hand, just like on TV. Well it turned out it was more exercise than I planned. I heaved it all right, then had to go get it. Heave it, go get it, heave it, go get it. Fun.

Cup and Ball – Piece of cake, or so I thought. This stringed game really exposes one’s lack of hand-eye coordination. I need not elaborate. There’s a similar game now called kendama. It’s nice to know a new generation of kids will be humiliated just like their forefathers. It’s the American way.

Space Hopper – also known as a kangaroo ball, hippity hop, etc. Also known as toy most likely to cause face plants. A big rubber ball with a handle on top that you sit on – what could go wrong? They are still around, but now require a helmet and liability waiver signed by a parent.

One thing I did master was the Pet Rock, but was told later that wasn’t much of an achievement. I did get good at throwing a Frisbee, which of course was a college requirement. And I did learn how to juggle, which made me a real catch.

– Alec

Editor & Publisher

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Community Calendar

Volunteer training for Jack London and Sugarloaf parks
Santa Rosa Youth Symphony groups return to Oakmont
Oakmont Sunday Symposium
Sonoma Speaker Series features journalist Keller
OVA, Golf Club Town Hall
The right to privacy topic at SIR #53
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Fawn Rescue Benefit Luncheon
Free kids hike to ancient redwood
Sonoma County Trails Council work day
Healthy Parks, Healthy People Hike