stickers

Stickers: Like Crack for Kids

Cats have catnip, Californians have medical marijuana, and kids have stickers. Faced with the question of what to do during a long, wet afternoon, an intercontinental airplane journey, or just a normal, run-of-the-mill tantrum, the answer is invariably to get out a book of stickers.

Judging by the 70 comments to the posting “Literally the Best Thing Ever: Stickers” (“A new sheet of alphabet stickers can make my day. A package of playful velour cats can make my week,” writes 19 year old Jamie) on the teen website Rookie, the enjoyment doesn’t fade from one end of the K-12 experience to the other. The commenter “Bean” paid the ultimate compliment by claiming that stickers are “even better than Playdoh.”

And the enjoyment is not easily explained. When I asked my daughters in a variety of different ways over a number of days, “Why are stickers so much fun?” I was told, “They just are.”

As a young boy, I collected Figurine Panini soccer stickers — kind of a sticky version of baseball cards. But for those stickers, the fun was in the the trading, the competition, and the completion — not really the physical act of sticking. Though there was a satisfying pleasure in securing the pictures in the catalog, it was a process of collecting, not collaging.

But for my daughters, nieces, nephews, and their friends, all it takes to make a piece of paper fascinating is a thin layer of adhesive. The size or shape of the particular article seems almost immaterial. A roll of masking tape is an excuse for hours of fun, sticky glittery letters are heaven. My natural inclination is to try and understand the fascination but, ironically, I have no grip on it at all. So I am stuck walking around with various characters attached to my shirt or, if I can’t beat ‘em I join ‘em, and I stick stickers: it could be worse!

Dan FriedmanDan Friedman is the award-winning arts and culture editor for the Forward. He has written for the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and Da Ali G Show and he is currently writing a book about Tears for Fears.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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