Friday, December 26, 2008

yo-yo #19: the xmas eye-of-the-tiger skyline

"sunday! sunday! sunday! 4pm at the megalopaloplex!!! THE BATTLE of the CENTURY!!! YO-YO's vs. YO-YOING!!! you'll PAY for the WHOLE SEAT... but you'll only need... THE EDGE!!!"


i got a new yo-yo. got it for xmas. it was wrapped cleverly by my fantastic mom in a Jos A. Bank tie box (complete with Jos A. Bank tissue paper inside). she always gets me amazing yo-yo's with essentially zero guidance (more on that later). i'm the first to admit that i needed another yo-yo like the hindenburg needed to be sprayed with nitroglycerin. this one put me in the somewhat surreal position of exceeding the 25 yo-yo capacity of the golf ball holder that holds my metal yo-yo's (that's JUST my METAL yo-yo's, mind you). i know there are way more serious collectors out there, and this is kind of a chance for me to debate that perspective with myself. having just ACQUIRED another yo-yo... what do i think about ACQUIRING yo-yo's? what do i think about people who are much more concerned with their ability to procure, preserve, and display than with their ability to use the toys themselves?

i talk to some people, and they're perspective is essentially "i've got this one beat up pink zero that has been in the washing machine twice and that's all i ever need. anyone who thinks they need more yo-yo's than this is whack!" do i agree with this? of course i could subsist one one yo-yo (see "yo-yo #1). i could survive just fine without yo-yo's if need be, but do i believe that the fewer you possess, the better off you are? with a few notable exceptions, these people often seem a little bit judgmental of "possessing yo-yo's" (if not possessing things in general). talking to them sometimes has the effect of "man... i'm not hardcore unless i only have one yo-yo, and it's a total trash-can BEATER!"

i talk to other people who are PERPETUALLY trying to embroil themselves in some kind of complicated yo-yo trade. they never seem even remotely satisfied (or even aware) of what they have, but they're perspective is "by playing every possible yo-yo, i can better understand what really appeals to me, and what in which new directions i can take my play". others are unabashed about just wanting a ton of yo-yo's 'cause yo-yo's are cool. talking to these people always leaves me feeling sorry for them; as though they're chained to what they've got and what they want, and firm in the belief that more (or more fashionable) equates to "better". i can't help but feel that when they walk away from yoyoing, they will do so unsatisifed, but i hope not.

the rub is that both of these archetypes are largely "possessed" by possession. if you're attached to the idea that you're somethin' special because you just own one yo-yo you know through and through, you're no more free than the person who thinks they're somethin' special cause they have 4 of each one drop colorway.

speaking of colorways, this yo-yo is a skyline by yoyofactory. this is my 2nd skyline, and though i didn't ask for it, it occurs to me that i really, really like these yo-yo's. they're small and light(ish), but feel solid and spin forever. they have a very subtle "H" profile, and are pratty square in their weight distribution. this one is the "majestic white tiger" variation (or something), complete with stripe laser art and eyes on the hubs. it's hot; kind of walking that fine line between that which i want to play, bad, and that which i would like to protect, but the former wins ever time. however, i probably won't play it all the time, realistically. is that a problem?

as i see it, there are two kinds of collectors: those that justify collecting by saying it's for "posterity", and those who just want to have a lot of yo-yo's for themselves. i have no problem with the former, but they're rare in their true form. a lot of people want to say "i'm saving this because i think it's important to document this period in yo-yoing." but most of those people just get off on having a lot of yo-yo's. i have a lot of yo-yo's, and i don't seem to "mind it", so what's my issue with that?

i think getting excited about the things that you have (to the extent that you seek to acquire more) inevitably distracts from what i understand to be a yo-yo's function. if you asked 10 yo-yoer's what yo-yo's are for, you might get 10 different answers, but i bet 7 would be some variation on "fun". while i agree that yo-yo's ARE fun, if you've invested even a little time in learning to yo-yo, you probably understand that there are plenty of factors to the process that suck. string burn, bearing maintenance, vibes from cro-magnon high school peers... not to mention the actual learning of more difficult tricks; it's WORK. it's not playing barefoot wiffleball and sipping lemonade from a beer-helmet. and pretty much everything that involves work implicitly involves some kind of personal development. improving your yo-yoing is inextricably linked to improving the quality of your own character.

and every moment you commit to thinking about getting or having yo-yo's is a moment you're not applying the benefits of actually playing. having lots of yo-yo's is one thing; spending more mental effort manicuring your shiny collection than you do learning and developing is quite another. obviously no one is qualified to judge where you stand in that spectrum but yourself, and sadly, people who are honest with themselves are few and far between. this blog, and that which i'm currently composing would fall under the heading of "thinking about yo-yo's", and i certainly don't see it as detrimental.

in the climate we've constructed (and make no mistake WE constructed it), it's really difficult for a new yo-yoer to avoid the pitfalls of hype and acquisition. "how to play" often seems secondary to "what you've got". there was a thread on yoyonation today by a kid asking for help on his throw... because he could only manage a few seconds worth of sleep time with his "shark vs. zombie beaver" edition bear vs. man. my perspective is that if you're such a neonate to yo-yoing that you have to ask for this kind of advice, then why get a $100 metal yo-yo. familiarize yourself with the utter basics of the art and science before you get in over your head. speaking of the aforementioned "SvZB", several threads have already materialized offering to resell these yo-yo's, making no bones whatsoever about doing so at an inflated price. i find it depressing that people are so excited about this or that yo-yo that they'd seek to "scalp" less than a week after the big release. it's much more depressing, however, that WE enable such behavior by offering consistent demand at virtually any price.

yoyoing, as i see it, is a wonderful thing. but we're people, and people (it would seem) are not happy unless they are hard at work making themselves feel inadequate over NOT possessing "the next big thing". yo-yo's are lovely. this yo-yo is lovely, but only in that it allows me to experience the joy of play. would that we could appreciate the value in that.

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