Crazes and phases: still got us

There was never a bland day in grade school. Thanks to the innumerable amount of knick-knacks to keep us occupied, and the constant shenanigans from students, I know I have fond memories of the simpler, probably dumber/more immature times of our elementary days. Still today we fall under a constant influence of what “everyone else”. is doing. This is evident in all many aspects, but ever since our early days of grade school, everyone sticks with the ongoing, ever changing trend of fads. Every new development that comes about – whether it is a game, toy, electronic device, fashion, or random gimmick – they grab us with their luring, instant popularity, and make all else obsolete. It goes in a cycle, one dominating, then the next month being dominated by another. Some were concrete, like clothes, but some were activities, sayings, or other obnoxious thing we found we could do to drive our seventh grade teachers insane. We’ve all matured since our grade school days, most of us anyway. Just by comparing what we do now to what we did then, we can see how different we are. From watching my 3½ year-old brother over just the last year, I see the Blue’s Clues, Toy Story , Hot Wheels, Super Heroes, Cars, Construction equipment, Thomas, and Rescue Heroes faze go by in the snap of a finger. I feel humans – kids especially –lose interest in the blink of an eye. My brother is currently a functioning iPod addict. When he gets home from the babysitter, he immediately asks, “where’s your iPod?” before he even says, “Hi”. His constant glaring at Angry Birds and Temple Run is exactly what everyone does. Instead of a phase, handheld entertainment connectivity is an addictive era. Exactly how it was without the 64 box of Crayolas back in the early grades – without an iPhone today, you might as well carry a rock in your pocket. If you don’t have the sharpener built into your pack of crayons – God forbid, has evolved into how now if you have the 4, there’s “always something better”. The high-tech phones when I was in third grade, were bricks by fifth grade, and the high tech phone from eighth grade, that I begged my parents to get – is what I have now, and again, I’d be better off carrying around a rock. Remember Draw Something? Remember Club Penguin? They fade before we even realize they are the new thing. Then we move on to the next one. Runescape. Snapchat. Ruzzle. The list goes on, and the cycle continues. Whether we call it a fad, phase, or trend, all these past and present interests are just what we do, and it seems we are content with it. I talked to Elder junior Collin Dugan, who recalled our time at Victory. “The fads would last a couple months then change as soon as we saw the older kids moving on to something new.” He remembers especially the skate shoe phase, where in fifth or sixth grade every kid had skate shoes – then everyone tried to skateboard. Also, like many things we did back then, some ideas made zero sense whatsoever – as Collin recalls, back before the “ pants during winter” rule, all the guys had this inclination to wear shorts no matter what the weather was, placing bets on who could go a year without wearing pants. And no matter what – no kid ever would be seen wearing a winter coat – Lord knows why. A lot of the stuff we did was again, just to tick off our teachers. I look back and can’t believe the kick we got out of the stupidest little stuff. Luke Deters, also from Victory, remembers the peculiar presence of a large amount of tacks in the ceiling above certain students’ desks. Why launching thumb tacks into the dart board we made of the ceiling gave the most successful feeling to our seventh grade selves, is a mystery to me. Along with that, many kids found a way to acquire large amounts of Jolly Ranchers from teachers’ desks, without necessarily getting permission. Deters also remembers the Bands. Probably the biggest era of gradeschool. For more than just one year, everyone filled their arms Nike and Under Armor wristbands to full capacity. Luke said he picked pix for each arm every day. We traded them like currency, until the school put a ban on them. Junior JT Williams was the infamous black-market Harry Potter Jellybeans dealer. He would sell the Jellybeans at recess for five cents, then another ban was placed on them, for “illegal distribution of jelly beans” or some fun-ruining BS like that. Then the playground market skyrocketed, as this new law doubled the price of jelly beans to ten cents. We got ourselves in quite the predicaments back then, and we can recall them all. Junior Mitch “Riggy” Harter recalls someone putting a certain dead rodent in a teachers’ garbage can at St. Jude when he was in seventh grade, causing quite a lasting stench. Matthew Medberry remembers Visitation’s days of Tech Decks. At Victory, too, we had a Tech Deck craze that lasted all of sixth grade – of course instilling a ban on them after the first few months. Overall, I probably spent enough on those three inch plastic skateboards then, to buy two or three tanks of gas today. “Every kid had their Lego addiction,” senior Kevin Leugers reminded me. He, of course, possessed the epitome of heaven for a second grader – a basement devoted to hundreds and thousands of Legos. Currently a Panther, junior Trevor Gunn was at Bridgetown before coming to High School. He definitely saw all the fads we go through – some more lasting than others. He remembers Silly Bandz , in eighth grade, and also the previous wristband phase. He also remembers the beginning of the Jordans phase that many guys are still in today. For some reason, kids from every school around here seemed to find some kind of joy in throwing things into the ceiling – Trevor told me at Bridgetown Middle School their choice of ceiling decorations were glue sticks and scissors. From there, Rev went on to tell me about the current things occupying our time. “I basically COD all day.” He told me, agreeing that the video game phase – especially Call Of Duty – is one that is lasting, and has been overtaking in the lives of many students. He then reminded of the mirror pic trend. Personally he has never posted one, but he sees the many posted by girls and guys. Trevor is known for his shearing abs, but he doesn’t flaunt them. I found myself getting a fashion lesson from Mr. Bill this past week. He told me how back in his high school days – the 90’s – girls folded up the bottoms of their jeans. And as Mrs. Hirth heard us talking about high school trends a few minutes later – the first thing she said was that she used to roll her jeans, just as Mr. Bill had demonstrated. Mr. Bill said “the real Nintendo!” was his biggest time consumer in grade school, even into high school. He also remembers the widespread fascination in Garbage Pail Kids sticker collections from his grade school days. Mr. Anderson told me of the countless Scratch-and-Sniff stickers that they collected. Every single one of us can remember some of the things we couldn’t go a day without – no matter when we graduated. The toys, games, and activities that we were obsessed with kept us happy back then, and that’s all that mattered.