Friday, March 23, 2012

Ever Had One Of These?

Ohio Art Company should pay a bonus to Mitt Romney's campaign strategist, Eric Fehrnstrom.

In one brief interview on Wednesday, Fehrnstrom single handed put this classic toy back in the news, and prompted maker, Ohio Art's stock price to triple on Thursday, closing at $9.65 per share. Ohio Art spokesperson, also reported a major gain in sales overnight.

I didn't even know they still made the gadgets!

Now, at every campaign appearance running up to the Louisiana primary, one can see Romney's competitors for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich waving around an Etch A Sketch. It's almost surreal.

This all came about as a result of Eric Fehrnstrom's answer to a question about Romney's political views now as compared to this fall. He likened Romney's views and candidacy to an Etch A Sketch, saying, "You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again." This, of course, only adds to the perception of Romney being a flip flopper on issues such as abortion and health care. Santorum has seized on the remark, stating that he is a candidate who "stands firmly on the rocks of freedom, and not on the sands of an Etch A Sketch toy." Needless to say, the Obama campaign aides are jumping on the Etch A Sketch bandwagon as well.

Politics aside, just seeing the little red gadgets on television news casts has brought back a flood of memories.

In a non digital age, before video games were ever thought of, the Etch A Sketch was a staple in our family. Looking back, it seems as though I remember us having three different units over the years, each one replacing one that had been worn out from use, or a knob missing, or a cracked screen. Dad loved to tinker with the thing as much as we kids did. It was easy to make designs or pictures that featured right angles, but mastering the use of the knobs to draw diagonal lines, or better yet, curves and circles was quite a challenge.

I remember the Etch A Sketch was required basic equipment in the back seat of the car on long vacation trips, or the two hour jaunts to visit relatives in Logan County. As memory serves, Linda and I also bought an Etch A Sketch or two for our kids, 30 some years ago.

As I said earlier, I didn't even know they still made the things, but there was a warm feeling that went all over me when I saw Newt Gingrich on the news last night holding up one of my favorite old toys. They may not be as exciting as "Mortal Combat" and the like, but the Etch A Sketch was a great toy. Now that I know they're still around, I may have to get a couple for the grand kids. Who knows? It's not playing games on a cell phone, but they might even like them (and it has nothing to do with politics!).

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