The new currency
“Uhm, I think I saw it on the counter downstairs last night…”
“No, no, no—I had it when I was watching the movie last night.”
“Oh, honey, no. I don’t know where it is then.”
He looked miserable, but I knew he didn’t want to walk to school (i.e., miss the bus) so he trudged out the door to wait for the bus.
Later that day I found the twisted up gnarly little blue bracelet that had a piece of fuzz stuck to it. If I hadn’t known he was looking for it, I would have thrown it out.
I shoved it in my pocket so I’d have it when I picked him up that day. “Thanks, Mom!” His eyes lit up as he pulled it over his wrist.
“You’re welcome, honey.”
“So-and-so gave it to me. He has a whole ton of Silly Bandz. Can we get some Silly Bandz? They have them at the Exchange.”
“Uhmmm…Whoa! What’s special about it?”
He took it back off his wrist and showed me how (when it was untwisted) was the outline of a dog.
“Ohhh, yeah. Well, look at that! How much are they?”
“I think they’re only like $3.00.”
“No – for a whole package!”
“Well, you have money, right?”
“Yeah. Can we go?”
“How about tomorrow after I pick you up?” We had already arrived home and it was past 6:00.
Well, the next day when we stopped at the store, they were all out of them. My son’s dramatic disappointment seemed way blown out of proportion to me (and likely the clerks who told me they were expecting a delivery of them the next day). He had a dark cloud over his head as he stomped out of the store.
After we returned home and he had time to calm down, we talked a little about what was “so important” about these bracelets. I still didn’t really get it, but apparently they had Sports Bandz and Rock Bandz and some other bandz. “All the kidz” had them. And they liked trading them with each other. Apparently this fad started sometime when I was out of town, and now a week and a half later, the bracelets have been banned from some classrooms because their popularity was causing a distraction. They kind of reminded me of the black plastic bangles of the 80s, but I don’t recall coveting those gasket-like bracelets the same way.
The next day, before we went back to the store, we discussed how we would handle our disappointment if the shipment to the Exchange was delayed. As it turned out, it was. The kids used some of their money to buy Big League Chew for the evening’s baseball games. Fortunately, I had ordered some bracelets online, just in case this very phenomenon occurred.
The owner of the Exchange told us that he was certain the bracelets would arrive the next day. Just to be sure, I checked another store and found that they had a few packages on hand (since the online bracelets wouldn’t arrive for five whole business days – I wondered if the fad would even last that long, or if what I ordered would still be “cool” by that time). However, they were not Silly Bandz brand, and thus not the right size for big-kid wrists, so we wound up back at the Exchange for the third time in three days.
This time we hit the jackpot, and The Bigs could afford one package each after the gum they had bought the day before. So, they were ready for trading with their friends. The next day after school, I got a full report of who traded for what, how many regular bracelets you had to trade for the two-tone ones, and whether the fruit-scented ones still smelled like anything.
“Mom, do you want one of my bracelets?” my oldest said to me.
“Oh…well”….I was going to say, ‘no, thanks’ but realized that it would be best to receive the gift graciously …”sure honey! Can I have a pink one?”
“Well, as long as it’s not the hippo. I had to trade a pig for it. But you can have a purple one, too…”
“Thanks, honey,” I said as I slipped the two unidentifiable animal-shaped bracelets on for a twisted and gnarly fashion statement.