I wrote a story for today's paper about Silly Bandz -- those little stretchy rubber band bracelets that everyone is wearing this summer.
Here are some of the cool, interesting things that I learned about silly bands while reporting and researching the topic:
1) Having a huge pile of silly bands sitting on your desk instantly makes you more popular. Lots of people have stopped to look through the designs and tell me all about how their kid/relative/neighbor/sibling/etc. loves silly bands.
2) "OMG, what's your silly band?" and "Want to see my silly band?" might just be the top pick-up lines for the Summer of 2010.
3) The official "Silly Bandz" are made by a toy company based in Ohio -- but tons of companies make similar bracelets using creative names of their own. I listed a bunch of these in the article, but here are some more: Forever Collectibles, Shaped Rubber Bands, Rubber Lover, Shape Rubber Bands, Fun Bandz, Crazy Bandz and Bandit-Os.
4) Silly bands come in pretty much every shape imaginable. Some of my favorite packs of bands: glittery Jewish bands, glow in the dark rock band bands, summer camp bands, New York City bands that include a purple taxi, and hipster bands that include a tie-dye lava lamp.
5) Some kids collect enough silly bands that they can create a rainbow on their arm, grouping together all of the red bands, then orange ones, then yellow, and so on until they have the full spectrum.
6) It's nearly impossible to guess the identity of some silly bands. "It's like a Rorschach test," a friend of mine said as we went through a pile of sillies. I have a silly band that allegedly spells out "WORD," but when put on its side, it also looks like the profile of a guy wearing a hat with a beer belly. I discussed this issue with 9-year-old N'Dea Jackson, who told me: "My friend was showing me one, and I kept saying, 'What is that?' And she kept saying it was a pig. I was saying, 'That does not look like a pig.' "
7) Heartbreak can set in when a silly band is broken, especially if it was a favorite silly band. "You can't really even tape them back together," said Rachel McDonald, a camp counselor and second-grade teacher in Fairfax County who has witnessed a few tragic breaks.
8) Silly bands can easily float off little wrists in the swimming pool, so lifeguards are often picking them out of pool filters and pumps and finding them on the pool deck.
9) Some collections have grown so large that kids are storing their sillies in plastic baggies and lunchboxes. Silly band companies are stepping up to create products to help kids manage their collections. Last week a salesman at a "Groovy Bandz" stand at Tysons Corner showed off a "silly bands necklace" that allows kids to string their bands together.
10) No matter how many silly bands a kid (or adult) has, they can still tell you all about their very first silly band -- which was usually a gift from a friend. For Norma Tobar, 6, it was a light pink magic wand. For KiAnna Dorsey, 9, it was a dark blue fairy. For Celia Montes Sharp, 8, a kangaroo.
What's the story behind your first silly band? Tell me in the comments section!
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