Today’s prompt is: What was your favorite toy as a child?
When I was in first or second grade, the big thing at school was yo-yos. Guys would stand around in the schoolyard, yo-yoing along, particularly at lunchtime. I had a yo-yo, and wasn’t too bad making the thing go up and down. The tricks were a little more difficult, because you had to have the right kind of string and had to throw the yo-yo a certain way to get it to stop at the end of the string while continuing to spin. Anytime I got it to do that, it was completely by accident. Still, if the conditions were right I could "walk the dog" and do "around the world" and "rock the cradle." I used to practice in the hallway of our apartment, which had a high ceiling and nothing on the walls that I could break.
Sometime during the yo-yo craze, Duncan (the first name in yo-yos) decided to promote its line of spinning tops as well. When I saw the tops advertised, I said "I gotta get me one a those" (or whatever the nine-year-old equivalent was during the ’60’s). So, just like I had the Duncan Imperial yo-yo, I now had the Duncan Imperial spinning top. (Before you get on me and remind me that all tops spin and saying it’s a "spinning top" is redundant, that was how Duncan sold them.)
The first trick with the top was learning how to wind the string around it properly so it would unravel and flip over when you tossed it. There was a right way and a wrong way, and doing it the wrong way might result in injury or breaking something more valuable than a $1.99 top. As for the tops themselves, they were pretty much indestructable.
So I got my top wound right and tried to get it to spin, and discovered that it’s nearly impossible to spin a top on carpet. Being me, of course, it never occurred to me to take it in my room and turn the carpet down to access the bare floor underneath. So I did the next best thing, which was to do my top-spinning on the linoleum kitchen floor. I got pretty good at getting it to spin, and even though I never learned too many tricks with it, I was an easy kid to please, not to mention lazy, so I was fine with getting it to spin and watching it until it lost the energy to stand up straight and fell over.
I don’t know what caused me to stop playing with it, but I did, and now wish I hadn’t. Maybe it’s just a gush of nostalgia.
This kid is really good with the tops, by the way, and there are lots of videos out on YouTube showing guys who really know what they’re doing…