the toy that changed America
The year was 1997,
Bill Clinton was sworn in for the second time as US president.
The United Kingdom transferred the sovereignty of Hong Kong to China,
effectively ending the British empire.
Scientists cloned a sheep at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.
And Catherine Hettinger, the inventor from Tusla, Oklahoma
filed a patent in Washington, D.C. for what was then called
“the spinning toy”.
它给我们下了定义 把我们打开 成为了我们自己
It defined us and it opened us to being what we became.
Good and bad things.
What the world knows now as the fidget spinner was an invention born out of pain.
In the early 90s living in Florida, Hettinger was suffering from myasthenia gravis,
a neuromuscular diseases that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles.
“I couldn’t pick up her toys or play with them at all.”
Hettinger says of her then young daughter.
“我开始扔报纸 磁带 以及其他的东西”
“So I started throwing things together with newspaper and tape then other stuff.”
“It wasn’t really even prototyping, it was some semblance of something…”
It wasn’t long until that semblance began to take shape.
Hettinger flew with her daughter to our nation’s capital to patent her new invention
with the anticipation perhaps of a gold rush.
Shopping for the next Furby that was the goal of
the 6th annual Toy and Decoration Fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Our own the younger heart reporter Bryan Hatchel stop by.
Say hello to Crazy Bones.
These small plastic figurines come in dozens of shapes and sizes
and cost about a buck each.
The 1990s were of course no stranger to toy crazes
whether it was Crazy Bones or POGs,
Furbies or Tamagotchi.
Ever year the world was once again possessed with a new favourite toy.
No one could guess what was going to be next.
Toy makers would have paid handsomely to anybody who could.
But each time the new craze seem to sink poignantly with the national character.
What is GAK?
Gak is a great stuff.
Suck it up and screw it up with a GAKGAK.
I don’t think there is any metaphysic. I just think there is so much fun to watch.
Suck it up and squirt it up with a Gak bag.
Pop it up and blow it up with a Gak inflator. Disgusting!
If Catherine Hettinger return from Washington, D.C.
with magnificent images of GAK swirling around in her head,
who could blame her?
And for a while it looked like those Gak soak dreams would become a reality.
The mammoth toy company Hasbro agreed to test Hettinger’s finger spinners.
Unfortunately, in the end they decided
not to move forward with the production.
And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.
History became legend. Legend became myth.
And for two decades the spinning toy passed out of all knowledge.
Until when chance came,
it ensnared a new generation.
They are popping up more and more in schools
and stores are really having a hard time keeping them on the shelves.
I’m talking about fidget spinner.
They are called fidget spinner. We call them fidget spinners,
fidget widgets or whatever you’d like.
Fidget spinner. The fidget spinner.
This is called a fidget spinner. My daughter has one.
You just kind of put on your finger and spin it around like this.
Though no one can say when exactly the fidget spinner
came to America in late 2016.
Reality TV star Donald Trump had been elected the 45th president of the United States.
All cell phones had lost physical buttons in favor of touch screens.
And two brothers Mark and Matthew McLachlan
had just unexpectedly raised 6 million dollars
for a trinket, called the fidget cube.
It’s a great story. It’s a human story.
It’s a story of those who went first.
他们是第一人 他们领了路 他们打开了路径
They were first. They led the way. They opened the trail.
很明显 对每个人来说 抗焦虑魔方都很有趣
It’s obvious to everyone that the fidget cube is fun.
我的意思是 看看它 但是有趣的多了去了
I mean, just look at it. But it was much more than that.
Citing a study from the Australian journal of learning difficulties,
a claim was made that these game-changing toys
could actually help those afflicted with ADHD to focus better.
“…engaging in fine motor activity” The study said,
“may assist students with ADHD in resisting the pull of distraction…”
And then two days before Christmas,
fidget spinners dormant for almost two decades
expect in certain underground fidget circles
exploded like lightning onto the scene.
It’s more exciting than this makes it seem.
These days fidget spinners are everywhere.
他们在办公室里 操场上 医院里 或者衣帽间里
They are in office cubicles and playgrounds, in hospitals and locker rooms.
Even in the White House.
Everything must be perfectly done and they weren’t working on a production line
and have to get so many pieces done per hour.
But it all had to be perfectly done
但它还是很吸引你 看着它 那种宁静感
and it does extend to you as you look at it the sense of serenity.
For months, the spinner’s medical benefits were hotly contested
by news websites with nothing better to do apparently.
They were banned from classrooms across the globe.
You could find them everywhere and nowhere.
And what about Catherine Hettinger?
That of course is the great tragedy of this story.
In 2005, in the long dark calm before the fidgets storm,
Hettinger was forced to let her patent expire
because she couldn’t afford a four hundred dollar renewal fee.
Since then the inventor of the fidget spinner
hasn’t seen a dime of the profits of the most successful product of all time.
Anything really new in thought and the material life
has to have its source in something that you have to call spiritual.
Nobody can be really creative
除非在背后有些精神的东西 无论这东西是不是来源于精神 这不重要
unless there is something spiritual behind it with you whether it goes by that name or not.
我的意思是 发明房子的人 发明任何东西的人
I mean who invented the house, who invented any of the things
we have, probably some who’d think, engaged in some kind of search.
the toy that changed America
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Thanks guys. I’ll see you next time.