Start with the number 10 and subtract the number of yo-yo tricks you know how to do. That’s approximately how cool you are on a scale of 0-10.

I score -2. Does adding a flip at the end of Rock the Baby count as a different trick? -3!

I don’t mean to brag, but I really had way too much time on my hands in junior high. I also had a dad who found a Duncan display in Toys-R-Us and remembered the good old days when he was too cool for middle school. Apparently, yo-yo ability isn’t passed down genetically but in plastic packaging and official Yomega trick books. That’s right, he gave me one of those too.

I have owned several different yo-yos in my life: Duncan Imperial, Duncan Butterfly, Duncan Wheel, Yomega Brain, and my personal favorite, a Yomega Fireball. So when I saw a kid at church walk by flinging a Butterfly (that may be the coolest phrase ever used to describe something associated with uncoolness), I suddenly knew exactly how my dad felt when he passed that display in Toys-R-Us. I knew this was my time to shine. All of those hours by myself in 8th grade were about to pay off as I made a life-changing difference in this boy’s existence.

But I played it cool. I refrained from jumping straight into “Wanna see the Eifel Tower?” and simply said “It looks like you’re getting pretty good with that thing.” He then showed me Around the World and slept the yo-yo for a few seconds before I asked “Mind if I give it a try?” Here was my set list:

  • a few Forward Passes to test the string tightness
  • Rock the Baby (with the flip)
  • Walk the Dog
  • Kick Around the Corner
  • Eifel Tower (really not difficult but always impressive)
  • Hand the tool of my trade back to the boy along with the knowledge that he could one day be as awesome as me. And if I saw real amazement, maybe I’d even add an encouraging word about enjoying what you do no matter what others think.

My plan went really well until I flung the Butterfly (didn’t sound as cool past tense) toward the ground into a sleep so that I could perform a Kick Around the Corner when the Duncan split. One half went left, the other right, and I was left holding a tangled string. I apologized for my clumsiness, helped the boy gather up the pieces to his yo-yo, put it back together, and sheepishly thanked him for letting me play with his toy. I decided to skip the “see? we’re not all dorks” life lesson.

Instead of teaching I re-learned a few things that I already knew:

  • Yo-yo tricks aren’t any cooler at 30 than 13
  • Trying to impress people usually has the opposite effect
  • My useless talent isn’t going to suddenly become valuable
  • They just don’t make yo-yos like they used to

I’m off to find other ways to use the phrase “flinging a butterfly.”


About Jeff Postlewaite

high school principal since '07, father since '04, teacher since '03, husband since '03, sound tech since '96, UVA fan since '92, gadget junkie since '89, Christian since '88, Giants fan since '84, golfer since '83, brother since '83, human since '81

Posted on February 20, 2012, in Society in General and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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