So, I’m pretty good at yo-yoing. Honestly, in a man of advancing years, it’s downright alarming to some people. Parents at the bus stop or shoppers at Target will ask me (to my wife’s chagrin) how I ever became so adept, particularly at such a STRANGE thing to be adept at… It’s kind of a backhanded complement, I guess, but I’ll take it.
My answer is pretty simple, and generally seems reasonable to my interlocutors: I’m good at it because I’ve never had a satisfactory reason to QUIT. As we enter the frenetic holiday gifting season, it occurs to me that my rationale for sticking with it makes a compelling argument for the yo-yo as THE PERFECT GIFT to get that person who has you utterly flummoxed. You just can’t go wrong with a yo-yo, and here are 7 REASONS WHY:
#1) They’re small: Yo-yo’s take up virtually no room at all. Unless you’re me and you have untold hundreds spilling out of closet space, despite an entire dedicated “yo-yo room” (again with my wife and the chagrin), a yo-yo fits comfortably on a nightstand or a desk. When unplayed, it makes for a whimsical and adorable conversation piece. When you feel like taking it out with you, I swear it feels as though pockets were DESIGNED exclusively for transporting yo-yo’s.
#2) You can use it anywhere: At this point, it’s easier to think of places I’ve been and NOT yo-yoed than the opposite. I mentioned having thrown down at Target, but the DMV, Grand Canyon, game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the beach at Waikiki, job interviews, more planes, trains, and automobiles than I can count, multiple weddings, and at a FUNERAL (dear lord, did that really happen?)… also spring to mind. My favorite place? Anywhere outside, while taking a walk (no one seems to feel chagrin in this setting). I’ll admit, playing a yo-yo out in public requires some swagger and may not be for everyone. It makes a statement – namely: “I’m more secure and probably having more fun than anyone in this line.”
#3) They’re engaging: People will ask about them. “Is that a… YO-YO?” Especially if you buy a well-made one off our site (as opposed to some dollar-store party favor), it’s an object designed with love, purpose, and precision. 99% of the time, the person you’re talking to has never seen one so beautifully proportioned and crafted. The effect is amplified if you have a shiny one made from aircraft aluminum. Bear in mind though, they will want to see you USE it, so it’s wise to get the basics down, lest you be “that guy who has the sweet yo-yo but can’t figure out how the knot goes on his finger”, which is a lowly state indeed.
#4) They’re green: Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Play yo-yo. I don’t watch TV anymore, except maybe some Netflix with my wife while I throw down some tricks (chagrin). Yo-yo’s require zero energy apart from you and the earth’s gravitational potential. Plus, you can buy models off this site that are made from sustainably harvested wood, providing a toy which you can enjoy for years, requiring NEITHER batteries NOR a wall socket NOR YET AGAIN any manner of combustible fuel. How many other things are you getting your kid that can claim the same (besides the book, the puzzle, and the socks – thanks, mom).
#5) They’re good for you: Ok, not wheatgrass-smoothies and Chuck Norris Total-Gym good for you… but in a culture where essentially everyone between ages 10 and 70 are HOPELESSLY addicted to electronic distraction (phones, iPads, portable games, laptops, X-Box), exchanging virtual reality for ACTUAL reality feels unbelievably refreshing. Taking a few seconds to throw a yo-yo can feel like doing a Sun Salutation or a martial arts kata. After a brief session, I’m not worn out, but I know I’ve been active; creative. It makes the rest of my day better. Yo-yoing is a reset button, so to speak. From what I read, a lot of people are trying to come back to center this season, buying (and asking for) gifts that evoke simpler times and a more carefree lifestyle. You don’t get much simpler or more carefree than a yo-yo.
#6) You can get good at it: Yo-yoing doesn’t require any particular body type, a 30″ vertical, or 20/20 vision. You don’t need a special playing surface, a sprung floor, or shoes with strange air pockets. You can do it alone in your living room or at a contest with 1000 of your best yo-yo buds. You don’t even need to be good looking (and I don’t credit yo-yoing with the fact that I am). It offers no advantage based on gender or age. It helps to have a certain degree of motor coordination and quick reflexes, sure, but those are qualities you can build up over time as you play. The resources on the internet for mastering tricks and communicating with other players have increased exponentially, both in number and quality. The only thing you need to become really, freakishly awesome at yo-yoing these days is persistence… well… AND a decent yo-yo.
#7) It’s FUN: At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re good enough to become the next world champion or not. What matters is whether you’re enjoying your time. It’s really hard to play yo-yo casually and NOT have fun. It’s cool. Kids think it’s a kind of magic (which I guess it is). Pets are freaked out by it, apparently in inverse proportion to their size. If you keep at it, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can do almost every day. At 37, this is still happening to me. The landscape of what’s possible within yo-yoing feels even more limitless than it did when I was gifted with my first yo-yo as a kid. It’s made my life better, more joyful, more fun.
Will the giftee you’re thinking of POSSIBLY say the same about the turtleneck sweater you’re considering in the other tab? I don’t think so. Remove from cart. Start over. You’re welcome.