An Odd Skill From Elementary School Involving Lollipops

The point of a lollipop is that you can take it out of your mouth and put it in without wiping your hands off, letting you walk and climb and crawl wherever you want with a large amount of candy. When you finish a lollipop, you have the paper stick leftover.

Most of the time, the end is sticky and it makes it tricky to put in your pocket and wait for the chance to put it in the trashcan. You figure that it’s biodegradable, so you just drop it on the ground and run off to play.

After all, it’s recess; the point is to be away from the classrooms with all the trashcans in them. Even when you’re just sitting around, talking, at least your time is spent however you want. When you’re sitting around with your friends, though, your fingers just itch for something to do; so your eyes go to the dirt that surrounds you and you spot a dried lollipop stick.

Germs and grime aren’t something you think of as a kid, so you pick it up and examine it. If it had any stickiness on it, it’s worn away by now, and the paper has started to peel. While you extemporize on your friend’s findings in the latest Zoobook, your fingers go to work until you realize you have two sticks in your hand instead of one.

The sticks look a little different, though; they look like they’ve been whittled away by beavers instead of by your fingers. You’re also holding a tiny strip of curling paper. Now you’re fascinated. You take a few steps until you find another lollipop stick and you try to turn it into paper, too. It’s not nearly as old as the first one you found, but after examining it closely, you notice that there’s a tiny zig-zag line across the stick.

Thus begins a weird fascination with lollipop sticks. You find it actually takes skill to peel apart the paper from itself without ripping it apart altogether; you get different effects if you rip at an angle or if you rip two different places at once.

Eventually, lots of paper later, you can unravel an intact lollipop stick without ripping anything—the edge still has that jagged line, even though it’s got a little bit of your saliva too. It looks like a tiny scroll, and sometimes the paper is weathered, so it looks old, too. This doesn’t happen too often—it’s harder than you think to keep the paper whole– so you keep the ones that you unravel successfully.

You try writing messages or drawing pictures on them, but they’re so tightly wound that it’s hard to keep it unrolled long enough to apply ink. It’s also hard to find tiny but heavy paperweights, so instead, you figure out how to roll them the other way so they’re more flat.

This funny little hobby keeps you entertained, even after you float away from your friend because you’ve decided he’s your crush, and after your best girlfriend moves, too. You wander around the dusty playground, looking for tiny paper sticks to exercise your fine motor skills, your ingenuity, and your creativity.


About The Original Kate

Along with artistic tendencies, Kate enjoys unusual people and is constantly striving for some sort of nonconformity. Kate offers a perspective that is thoughtful but well-written and full of images within the words. Other tidbits that might intrigue: she has very long auburn hair, and, you guessed it, her favorite color is orange.

Posted on August 4, 2011, in From Moss-Lined Oregon and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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