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Collecting Silly Bandz is like eating potato chips. You can’t stop at just one.This newspaper even ran a front-page banner last month, heralding a news story about the Silly Bandz bracelet craze. It’s that big. But if you don’t have children between the ages of 5 and 15, you’ll have only a vague idea about these colorful, glorified rubber bands.On the arm, they look like a rainbow tangle; off, they pop back into their real shapes, anything from a princess to a dinosaur. What’s the big deal? If I knew, I’d be a billionaire.Across the country, the fad is viral. Many schools have banned the bracelets as distractions from learning. But you know kids. They crave the forbidden.

The phenomenon has swarmed the country like locusts. No, that analogy is all wrong. I’m a convert now. Silly Bandz have rained down on our land like a galaxy of shooting stars.

In the beginning, I cursed them. Every other day, I went from Walgreens to CVS to the Vero Beach Book Center in search of this coveted wrist candy. Sold out.

“Just put on some rubber bands and be done with it,” I told my daughter. She looked at me as if I had committed child abuse.

I now have a secret source. To preserve my new status as Queen of the Universe, I can’t reveal it. The chores are getting done. The dog is fed before he expires. This cheap jewelry is a mother’s magic wand.

And it’s refreshingly low-tech. Kids actually talk to (not text) one another about collecting and trading. At about $4 for 24 bands, they’re affordable. With the exception of swallowing or shooting them, they’re also safe.

I don’t think Silly Bandz (and the innumerable knockoffs) will be a flavor-of-the-month fad. Like Hula-hoops, Pet Rocks, Slinkys and Barbies, they’ve zeroed in on the collective unconscious. In July, the almighty Disney is coming out with its own brand featuring Mickey, Minnie, all the princesses, all its legendary characters.

Silly Bandz promote sharing. My daughter gave me several, which I proudly wear with a nice gold bangle. She also gave her best friend a porcupine-shaped bracelet. It turned out to be a hot one, and the friend was able to trade it for six others. I was so proud of my daughter’s generosity.

“Would you have given her that particular one if you knew it was so popular?” I asked my daughter.

“No,” she said. “I would have given her a duck.”

Diana Foote writes weekly on life on the Treasure Coast. Contact her at foodgal@comcast.net.

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