Childhood Family

Fidgeting, flipping, and slime, oh my.

We were bored on a recent Saturday night, and my kids were wanting to do something fun. We weighed our options.

Board game? Nah. Movie? Nah. Chase you sister around the house with a Nerf gun and shoot her all night? One yes, one no, one abstention.

My daughter said, “We should make slime!”

Now, keep in mind my kids are teenagers, and well past the age when they were first introduced with making slime in school. That said, it kinda sounded like something fun to do, so why not.

I sent the kids to the store to get the required ingredients, which are incredibly complicated (glue and Borax). For all the parents who dread their kids driving, trust me, there are perks. Wanna make slime on a Saturday night? Fine. Go get the stuff yourself while I sit in a quiet house for a few minutes.

They were back in no time with the ingredients and in short order we had slime. I posted a picture on Facebook with the kids making their concoctions, with the post “Never too old to make slime.”

A teacher friend of mine commented, “I’m sorry, but that stuff is the bane of every teacher’s existence.”

And teacher friend, I feel your pain. My mother was a teacher, and I know how hard it is to be a teacher, and not just because my mom had the unfortunate teaching experience of having me as a student.

There are quite a few annoying fads that teachers have to deal with, and more pop every year. I remember when I was a kid, and one fifth grade teacher had to put a moratorium on bee catchers, these little paper contraptions we concocted that made a fantastically annoying clacking noise when you smacked them back and forth. We found them delightful. The adult tasked with trying to teach us math? Not so much.

There are several other fads that are quite popular right now that I am sure teachers cannot wait to see them go the way of the bee catcher.

Among those:

  • Bottle flipping. For those of you not familiar with this, bottle flipping involves a partially full bottle of water that is flipped, with the goal of landing it right side up. Or, you can really show your pro level and “cap it,” meaning you land it on the, surprise, cap. If you have never been around a bottle flipper before, do this: Have someone every so often come and just slap the table you are sitting at. Or the coffee table next to you. Or just any surface near you, in particular when you are sitting at your computer trying to compose an email.
  • Your mom. Not, not yours. But apparently, responding, “Your mom” is the trendy way to respond to any and every question. Seeing as how this was a popular thing back when we were making bee catchers, I’m not sure this one will die any time soon.
  • Fidget spinners. If you’re not familiar with these, they are these little spinner devices that kids love to constantly spin. And fidget. And there is a reason most every teacher on planet earth currently wants all fidget spinners to disappear forever.

I am sure there other annoyances teachers would love to see go away, and I’d love for you to share them with me. I’ll be happy to write a follow-up column. Until then, remember, summer is close. And you will soon be out of the bottle-flipping, fidget-spinning, your-mom nightmare. I just hope I haven’t inadvertently starting a resurgence in bee catchers.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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