Death of a Slinky

By Chad Leigh Kluck on

Memories, in the corner of my mind... I lie in bed thinking of this song, daydreaming about the days I had something I now no longer have. The burial is over now and all I have are the memories, the memories of a slinky. A slinky that now lies below old tissues, pop cans, and stale bread, in my tin, blue pinstriped trashcan with the Cubs' logo on the side. A slinky that a friend of mine (we will call "Mike" to protect the guilty) took too far and bent out of shape.

"Slinky! Slinky! Fun for a girl and a boy!"

Whatever happened to my first slinky as a kid, I do not know. It probably went to that same place where all toys go when kids outgrow them, the garage sale. The same hap­pened to the Rubik's cube and my first computer. Getting rid of toys is a common thing as a child goes into his or her later grade school years. It is not until they turn college-age that they realize the toys were worth something. Take the original Star Wars action figures, big bucks.

The slinky was a great toy, not only to have walk down the steps, but also to have jump from hand to hand. I will never forget the time spent making the slinky go down my grandparents' stairs. Nor will I forget the time I made the slinky go down my stairs. Of course I will never forget the time when I made the slinky go down my friend's stairs. When I grew up, I knew I wanted to take the slinky down the stairs at the Sears Tower in Chicago. Now that I lost my slinky, my dream will never be complete.

Not only did I dream about taking the slinky down the steps at the Sears Tower, but all over important landmarks across the world. The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, the Eif­fel Tower in France, the Empire State Building in New York, and the Washington Monument in our country's capital. I also wanted to stage an event at the Grand Canyon, the Space Needle in Seattle, and time permitting, the library steps in Billings, Montana.

"Behold gravity and all its power!"

Another friend of mine, "Pat," knowing the importance of fun and immaturity, gave a slinky and a yo-yo to each of his friends one night before we left for college. "Jeff," "Grant," and "I," I believe, immediately opened the boxes and played with the slinkies, taking them down the stairs of "Jeff's" house. I vividly remember that night when he handed each of us a beautifully wrapped package. The package was no more than a yo-yo and a slinky wrapped in a blue Wal-Mart plastic bag. When I opened the bag, I was rejoined with a childhood memory that I had either sold or lost in the fifth grade.

College was easy to get through with a reminder of my hometown of "Fremont" and my friends who no longer lived there because they had moved away to college. The yo-yo was fun, but I could never (and still can't) do anything more than the basic up and down throw. After seriously in­juring my roommate my first week in college trying to do "Round the World," I gave up the yo-yo. I was no Yo-Yo Man. The slinky, with its shiny metal coil, was simple enough for me to handle.

I introduced the slinky to my college steps at Southeast Community College and then at the University of St. Tho­mas. It was a hit with all those who gathered in my room. They would hold one end in one hand, the other in the other hand, and have the slinky coils bounce back and forth. It had the popularity of a small, cute, and fuzzy gerbil. And like a small, cute, and fuzzy gerbil, it was fragile.

"Put textbooks on the carpeted steps, the slinky will work better."

I was not there when my slinky took its final slink. The true story of what happened will never be known. All I saw was the horrible aftermath that showed a severely crippled slinky. Sometimes I wake up at night after dreaming that I was a slinky that just got slunked. My coils bent out of shape, I am not able to move, I shiver and wake up in a cold sweat. (At least I think it is sweat.) I then glance over to my bookshelf hoping to see the shiny metal of the slinky in the moonlight, but it is gone. Alone I lie in bed, a man without a slinky.

In Loving Memory of Slinky II, June 1996–March 1999.